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  • Sr Siobhán

Fly your Kite!


It was a glorious summer’s day. A member of my community joined me for a walk in an area of great natural beauty that she had not visited before. In the previous months, COVID 19 had confined many to their homes, however, children were now on their summer holidays and families were out celebrating being together. Small family groups were enjoying picnics on the grass and a large river flowed gently in the background. Family pets lazed in the sunshine and majestic clouds danced in a crystal clear blue sky. A warm wind blew gently, it felt good to be alive. A number of small planes made their way to the local airport and we wondered how they stayed up…we did not think too deeply about this as we knew that we would never understand aviation processes and still wished to continue to fly!

As we chatted and walked I noticed a man preparing a very large kite to release into the sky. A little girl waited patiently for him to release the kite and as I have never owned or played with a kite, I stopped to see what would happen next. I was captivated by the mystery of it all as I silently looked on. With great sensitivity and skill, the man guided the kite as it rose higher and higher; when it reached a certain height he would gently tug on the ropes and redirect its course and in so doing many lovely patterns were born. It danced and bounced across the sky for quite a long time, occasionally kissing the earth and rising again in a new direction. There appeared to be no limits to the designs that were on offer and the little girl and these two ‘older girls’ watched in awed silence. When the show was over, the kite came gently to rest and the little girl ran to her dad and chatted excitedly with him.

As I reflected more deeply on this summer gift, I thought of our life journey to God. God calls us upward unto Himself every moment of every day. From the beginning of time, He has marked out our life journey and each step has been carefully guided by His loving hand. (Jeremiah 1:5) Like the man holding the kites’ ropes, the Lord guides each movement and asks us to be led by Him. (Psalm 25:4) Our journey may take many different turns and all forms of shapes are born, some joyful, some sorrowful but all are held in His embrace. I was conscious of some of the times when my dreams and desires have come crashing to the ground, when I have felt that I have had ‘mud on my face’ and tasted the bitter earth. These may have been occasions of sin or human frailty and weakness. At these moments I have needed and been grateful for the kindness and support of others who have helped to raise me up and helped me to discern if the dream that I was following was God’s dream or my dream, which kite was I flying and why may have it gone off course. What did I need to do to stay on course or follow a new and often un-expected direction?

As a community palliative care nurse, I accompany people of all ages whose lives are drawing to a close. The kite of their lives has unfolded over their allocated time on earth and many paths have been trod. Many speak with me of their times of greatest joy or times of deep sadness and regret. Most wish to draw the threads of their lives together and lay down their kite in peace. I entrust each one to God knowing that the Lord of all creation holds each one in the palm of His hands and gently, sensitively folds up their kite and draws them home to Himself.

© Siobhán O’Keeffe 2020, all rights reserved


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