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DOWN IN FRONT 

Oh Go Fly A Kite!

By David W Roach 

 

  When March winds blow, my thoughts turn to kites.

  I’ve been flying kites since early childhood. Back then, my kites were made of newspaper, sticks, string and clue.

  The length of the sticks determine the size of the kite. The longer the sticks, the bigger the kite and the higher they flew. My kites were a modest size.

  My brother John was another story. One day, John took couple 8 foot long 1x2 inch furring strips, tied them together like a cross and covered them with newspaper. He tied on a length of clothes line rope. The tail was made of newspaper bow ties and string.

  The wind that March was particularly strong and he carried his kite to the open field across the road from our house. After some initial failures, the kite finally took to the air. My brother leaned back against the pull and grinned at me. “Pretty something,” he said.

  If we had another hundred feet of clothes lines, the kite would have gone higher, but we didn’t and that was probably a good thing. Higher up, the wind blew even harder.

  John grinned at me and asked, “Want to hold the kite?”

  “Sure,” I said and he handed me the rope.

  Now, you should know that I weighed 80 pounds wet. The pull of the kite must have been at least twice that and I took off, rolling and bouncing along the ground. John ran after me shouting, “Don’t let go! Don’t let go!”

  That’s when I did a very stupid thing. I didn’t let go.

  When John finally caught me and took the rope, he grinned at me and said, “Nice job,” adding, “You look like you lost a fight.”

  I was bloody from scratches and bruised from crashing into rocks. but I also felt proud of myself. I didn’t let go. I held onto the kite.

  I have several store bought kites that I take with me to the coast to fly. Some have one string, a couple have two and can be made to loop and spin and swoop. But none of them thrill me as much as that 8 foot tall newspaper kite that nearly carried me into the next county.

  Life can be like that, like a kite big enough to carry us away. We take hold of the string and feel the pull. We think, “This is great.”  But then the wind comes up and it becomes harder to hold on and we think, “I can’t do this.” It’s then that we have to decide, “Do I let go?” or “Do I hold on?”

  There’s no shame in letting go, but neither is there exhilaration or pride of achievement.  Those come from hanging on, even at the risk of bleeding scratches and purple bruises.

  Jesus said, “If you want to follow me, take up your cross.” What we take up, we can also let go. There’s no shame in letting go, but the thrill, the exhilaration, the pride of achievement comes from not letting go, even at the risk of bloody scratches and bruises.

  Kites anyone?