They were everywhere. As I took my last walk around the pond I had come to love in NC, I was accompanied by a myriad of dragonflies. They flitted in and out of my pathway as I stepped toward the day’s two mile goal. I notice dragonflies. They are beautiful, and mysterious; full of light and color; timid and skittish as they avoid contact with everything around them until they find the ones they can love and then they hold on with a tenacity that belies their delicate structure.
Dragonflies. They possess a fragile strength that woos me. They dance their way into and out of my line of sight, bringing a smile to my face each time. It is difficult to capture their beauty, but I am grateful they so often grace my journey.
As I watched these creatures dancing all about me, I found myself thinking of a dear friend of mine. I equate her with dragonflies. She has an affinity for them. They bring meaning to her. In some ways, she is like them. She is all full of color and light, dancing her way through life, full of fragile strength. She has taught me mindfulness and allowed me into her journey. I have seen her heart crushed by the weight of life, yet she rises to fight for her family, her dreams, her beliefs. Even the very steps I was taking as I danced with these present dragonflies were fraught with impossible hope my friend had sparked in me. There were deep blue and purple dragons skimming the surface of the water next to me. They danced and twirled, lighting briefly on reed’s end, only to spin off on another adventure. They are so like my friend; the one who calls me to dream bigger and believe. The one who dances and makes me believe I might dance one day too.
As I continued on my way, adding step to step, I was joined by another dragonfly, one of my favorites. This wonder was all blacks and whites, transparent wings and contrasting beauty. This one did not light on the fragile reed or skim the surface of the water. This one landed on the warm, solid path in front of me. When I got too close, it flew up, around me and landed behind me a little, again on the warm earth. It seemed to love being near, but wanted a solid place of comfort around it. It had presence. I realized as I walked along that there are other women in my life who are dragonflies in their own right. This black and white beauty reminded me of one these women. She had done battle for me. At times she even fought me for me. She made a strong, welcoming space around her old soul and invited me in. I have the seen the beauty of her tenacious heart. She fights boldly for those she loves. She owns who she is, flaws and oddities, and seeks to be all of who God made her. I have watched her dreams fulfilled and then shattered into jagged shards. The grace and mercy she has shown in her own fragile strength is still something I am in awe of. She could have quit. She could have gone into hiding. She could have cursed God and died. Yet, she let the King off all things pick her up, love the dirt off of her and speak the word LIVE over her. There is such beauty in the black and white of things when it rises on gossamer wings of hope and mercy and grace. There are not words to express my heart toward this Jesus-follower.
I rounded the corner of the pond that takes me over a little footbridge. Here I found some red dragon beauties. As I watched them a while, I saw how they remained close by the shallows, sitting atop cattails. Yet, every once in a while one of them would lift off in a buzzing of wings and fly off across the pond with purpose, only to return moments later to the safety of the footbridge. Suddenly, one my oldest friend in all the world leaped into my heart and mind. She is wise. She likes the comfort of familiar and predictable. She appreciates the bottom line of things. There is always laughter and joy at her table. It is safe there. Yet I have watched her these many years grow into an imposing woman of God who stands tall in her strength and fragility. She has gone places and done things she said she would never do. She has taken risks, put herself out there, left the safety of the familiar and the bottom line and even when she gets knocked down, she rises again. Over the last few years there has been such great loss all around and within her. Yet, she rises and risks, letting go the safety of her own “footbridges” and venturing out across the waters.
As I neared the end of my two miles, I was struck anew by how very rich I am. God had surrounded me, all of my life, with women of fragile strength, women after God’s heart who have loved me fiercely. I am undone. Each step I am taking toward health is fraught with the fragile strength and beauty God had created in these women who grace my life. When I leave this world, I pray they will say of me, “She was a servant of the King. And she walked with dragonflies.”