Someday I know that our kite will soar
It was just a kite.
My husband, Don, and I were shopping for Christmas gifts for his family when we saw it lying against the back wall of a store.
“Look, it has a bear on it,” he said. At that time I collected all things bears. During our courtship, when I had told him that, he began lavishing me with “bear things” – greeting cards, small porcelain bears, teddy bears, even jewelry. The kite featured a large brown bear with a red heart, his hand waving a greeting, against a sky of rainbow colors.
“What would I do with a kite?” I said. “I’ve never even flown one.”
“You’ve never flown a kite?” Don’s face was incredulous as he looked up at me from his wheelchair.
I shrugged. “I guess my parents just weren’t into kite flying. I never learned to fly one.”
“Well, we must change that,” he said.
I shook my head. “The last thing I need is a kite. Look at this list of gifts. We’re going to go over our budget as it is.”
Guess what I got for my birthday in February?
The next month, on a slightly windy day, we set out for the field near our house. On certain days of the week the field was full of kids practicing or playing sports on the various ball fields, but today the field was empty. I walked, carrying the kite, with Don beside me in his power chair. He had had to use a wheelchair for several years. It never occurred to me to take his wheelchair-accessible van.
I’m not sure why I thought learning to fly a kite would be easy, but it wasn’t. I ran, I leapt, I tried to follow all of Don’s instructions. But I didn’t have much luck. Then trouble struck. We had strayed too far onto one of the ball diamonds. The wheels of Don’s power chair got stuck in the sand.
This had happened once before, at a park in another town. The small wheels on a power chair just don’t work in sand. I immediately dropped to my knees and began digging with my hands around the wheels. Don tried maneuvering the joystick, pushing it backwards and forwards, but the wheels only sank deeper into the sand. “Stop rocking the chair. You’re going to fall out,” I shouted above the wind, which had now picked up. “Just let me try to dig you out.”
I scooped out the sand from around his tires, wishing we had brought the van. Surely there was a cup or something inside it that I could use as a better scoop. But the van was at home.
The more I tried scooping the sand away, the deeper the chair’s wheels seemed to sink into the sand. I stood up and looked around. There was no one else in sight. “Please God, help us,” I whispered.
I tried pushing the chair, but it was too big and too heavy for me to budge. I went back to digging in the sand. Suddenly the chair lurched forward out of the sand. By now, the clouds had started to darken, and the wind was cold. We turned toward home. I walked silently, clutching the kite.
We always said we would find a new location and try to fly it again. But we never did. I stuck the kite in the back of a closet.
Then, one day, Don asked about it. “Whatever happened to your kite?”
“I still have it,” I said. “It’s in the back closet.”
“Maybe we should get it out.”
So we did. With a friend’s help, we mounted it on our bedroom wall. That’s where Don wanted it. It became the last thing we saw every night and the first thing we saw every morning.
And life went on – the day Don’s kidneys failed, and dialysis began eating up large chunks of our days. The day we were told he had advanced osteoporosis, and that his bones were at severe risk of fracture. When they broke, they never healed. Don’s activity level dropped as his pain level increased.
Along the way I learned that despite one’s best efforts, many dreams in life go unfilled. That despite one’s most fervent prayers, God’s answers aren’t always what we want. That the abundant life Jesus promised us can take many different forms. One night as we trundled down the hall toward bed, Don looked up at the kite. “Do you think we’ll ever be able to fly it?”
“Maybe God will help us fly it in heaven,” I said, trying to smile. “That way we can both run across a field and watch it soar.”
He sighed. “I hope so. I think I’ve almost forgotten how to run.”
My heart broke. In college he had played football, racing down the gridiron. But that was long ago.
Then one day he was gone. He took a nap and never woke up.
I remain. The kite still hangs on my bedroom wall. It is the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see each morning.
I recently read a devotional that spoke to my heart. In the January/February 2021 edition of “All God’s Creatures,” Devon O’Day wrote, “God, help me remember that just because someone has more does not mean I ever have less.”
My life has been immensely blessed. Someday I know that our kite will soar.
Linn Ann Huntington, of Hays, is a retired Fort Hays State University professor, and a special contributor to The Hays Daily News and One.