Sometimes I feel out of place. Sometimes I feel flat and emaciated. Sometimes my spirit just feels sprawled out across the garage floor like an old, dusty kite.
Thin. Mangled. And not very fun.
Not long ago I opened the garage door and saw one lying on the floor like a corpse. My boys had evidently knocked the kite down from a tall shelf. The mess was another frustrating reminder that all things lead to chaos when two preschoolers are gumshoeing about the house.
They’re messing up to something, always.
Still, compared to their previous attempts at dismantling our house, this wasn’t a big deal. This didn’t require a plumber, an electrician or even a time out. Today, though, my shoulders felt sore from the steely weight of big and small responsibilities — to the point where even one small mess could tip the scales with heavy gravity.
And the scales did tip, once I discovered another mess on yet another floor. When my shoes landed on the kite, the plastic paper crinkled all the way up my spine — like another unwanted metaphor.
Really, it was the sound of something pointing back at me.
About a year ago, I had pulled that brand new kite out of the trunk to the delight of two leaping toddlers. My wife and I had been hiding it there, waiting for a perfect family moment.
At last, one evening we decided to make an impromptu stop after finishing an errand. Though dusk had arrived at the quiet park before us, we still had time. We found our moment.
And I swooned. As the kite circled and roared over my head, I must have chortled louder than any child in heaven.
I felt as though someone had finally loosened my boots after years of being bolted to the floorboards. Suddenly, I was outside — and my spirit was running.
But does the movement always have to come to a full stop?
Because now I saw myself standing in a dimly lit garage, eyeing an unmoving and tired kite. Something was missing. And I didn’t know how to get it back.
While I meditated in the doorway, I felt like an old man looking at old pictures. Was life really just an ongoing descent into chaos and disorder? Was there any hope that this kind of unbridled joy could ever rise up and bolt in new directions again?
Or is that brand of joy just a breezy, fickle fancy?
Because I want to believe that joy still reigns and moves us along, with its strong gusts of freedom, into a soaring and wildly looping surrender. I want to believe that joy still carries us into uncharted dimensions of holy, childlike chortling.
Again and again.
Finally, my answer blew through the doorway: Sometimes faith is the quiet work of extricating a kite from its own string, getting it out of the garage — and waiting. But it’s more like the waiting of a child who will scavenge for joy in the face of anything.
Because to a child, both windy skies and dusty floors promise a treasure.
Again and again.