Now I know some of you don’t believe kites can think and speak. To be honest, I don’t believe so either. However, let’s just assume that this one particular kite could, to avoid unnecessary arguments later. A family that loved to go to the park owned this particular kite. On a fine windy day, they would go to the park and launch their kite into the air. These were glorious occasions. As you might imagine, the life of a kite tended to be quite dull most of the time. As the wind caught the kite and sent it (seems strange to describe a kite as a he or a she) hurtling into the air, it really felt alive, and maybe in a sense it did become alive.
The kite looked around in wonder and thrilled at the twists and turns it could make while tethered to the ground. The kite was very happy. He was up a couple of hundred feet, yet it seemed like miles. But then he noticed them.
They were big fluffy white things going by above him. As you might guess, they were clouds. The kite thought to itself, “Soaring like this is great, but look at those things. They have nothing tethering them to the ground. They go wherever they like. They do whatever they want to do. I am stuck here as they see the world.”
As more line was let out, it got closer to some of the clouds. It could see that the gusts of wind that would send it twisting would pull off wisps of cloud and fling others together. It soon became clear that the clouds were not things of themselves, but a loose collection of unrelated things. The clouds would change in shape and would grow and shrink based on laws of turbulence and thermodynamics. I am not sure of the kite’s educational experience so I don’t know how much of this it understood.
“What a joy it would be,” thought the kite, “to be so uninhibited. Oh, I wish I were so unconstrained. But I have these sticks that force me to stay one shape, and I have this tail that forces me to stay pointing up.”
It watched further and saw one cloud come its way. It was lower than most of the rest. It soon became clear that the kite was going to be hit by this cloud. It did not know whether to be excited by the prospect or terrified. It had hit the ground a few times before, and did not like it. However, what did it feel like to be hit by one of these big white things?
Then it hit. Well, it did not really hit, more passed around the kite. It was amazed to find that it could hardly feel the clouds. It was a wet, yet feathery touch. The water drops just ignored the kite as they moved along however the wind drove them. It tried to talk to the water drops, but got no response. The kite did not know if they could not speak or simply had no interest in speaking
“Wow! What a rush!” said the ecstatic kite. “Wouldn’t it be great to be so unaffected by one’s surroundings. I have to worry about trees, power lines and the ground. I am also forced to fly only at the whim of the one who holds my line. But those water drops have no worries like that, they don’t answer to anybody or anything. Oh, I wish I could be like that.”
Wishes are funny things. Maybe they have no value or maybe they do. But sometimes wishes come true sooner than one would ever dream. In this case a gust came along and the knot that held the kite to the string gave out. In an instant it was free. However, before the kite could really begin to appreciate this new-found freedom, it sensed lack of stability in its flight. The wind began to toss and twist it violently and it soon found itself plummeting to earth. However, the kite never made it to earth. It hit the upper branches of a large oak tree. There it stuck with its crossbars broken, tail ripped off, and sail torn.
There it stayed for months as the elements broke its body down. Now, however, it rarely watched the clouds. Rather, it would love to dream as it watched kites dance in the sky.
This is a story I wrote a few years ago. I am preaching on Sunday and the topic is on the call of Jesus to deny oneself, and to take up one’s cross. To me, this includes sacrifice and willingness to suffer. But beyond that it also involves knowing one’s place or role in God’s kingdom. To deny oneself removes pride and covetousness (seeking what others have and one lacks). It also recognizes that constraints, limitations, unpleasant circumstances may actually exist for our own good. I decided not to use this story in my sermon… but it does remind me to appreciate God holding my string as I dance in the breeze.