I wasn’t at the end of my rope [or string] the other day. Not even close. This, even though the environment for kite-flying seemed ideal – a brisk steady breeze, punctuated by the occasional muscular gust.
Despite the favorable conditions, I never managed to keep my kite airborne for much more than 30 or 40 seconds. Then, with dozens of yards of string already deployed, it became an almost unmanageable chore to catch the next breeze…and raise the kite up again…without tripping on (or further entangling) the string.
My fecklessness led pretty quickly to disinterest on the part of our 2- and 4-year-old grandsons. They were noticeably more enthralled by the kite their grandmother was flying…and dipping…and swirling…and flying some more – just over yonder.
The big difference? Her delta-wing device had a tail – adding a much-needed dollop of drag and stability to her aerial exploits. Which really didn’t come as a surprise: I knew this fact about kites. Heck, just about everybody knows it. But it’s been a few years since I tried my hand at the springtime sport…so my woeful wallowing served a purpose, I suppose – stirring up those dusty memories of proven tactics for pursuing backyard bliss.
We do need such reminders from time to time, don’t we? A come-uppance of sorts (hopefully, a gentle one)…to whittle away at our pride and deepen our humility.
At times, I’m inclined to think this is one of the greatest graces available in Lent – to perhaps see our Lenten resolutions of prayer, fasting and almsgiving flutter a bit…and then fall back to earth. It’s only then that we begin to appreciate the promise made to us in Christ Jesus. As St. Paul observes in his letter to the Ephesians:
…even when we were dead in our transgressions, [God] brought us to life with Christ…raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens…
Christ’s grace acts as a stabilizing force for our spirits – adding an essential tail to our imperfect efforts, and inviting us to soar ever closer to the Holy One. In the end, though, it’s not our doing when holiness happens…when joy arises in our hearts:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.