I was blessed yesterday to have a new blogger stop by the cave and give me a holler. Plato’s Groove commented on a couple of my posts and before I knew it we were having a great discussion about life. It was the picture of my dragonfly icon that first caught his attention. He, too, is a dragonfly fan, and after sharing HIS dragonfly story, he asked about mine. So pull up a rock and have a sit if you care to…
My dragonfly adventure began innocently enough. I’d been reading one of Julia Cameron’s books on writing. She suggested that every artist worth their salt should have a muse, something they love that, when pondered on, can inspire them to write, dance, paint, take pictures… She urged those reading the book to go find their muse.
So I looked up the definition of “muse.” I now know a bit about the daughters of Zeus who preside over various arts, but the definition most related to Cameron’s use of the word was, “The goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like.”
Simple, right? First thing that went through my head was a DRAGON! I LOVE fantasy stories and would readily move to Middle Earth if I could. So now I had a QUEST! I needed to find a dragon to inspire me.
It just so happened that my group of “homies” (seven of us who have been friends for 20+ years, supporting one another through life’s good times and bad) were going away for the weekend to a nearby ski resort to celebrate a big 5-0 for one of the babies of the group. I was over the moon because I knew of a little New Age store there where I might be able to find just what I was looking for. This had to be fate. I just knew it! When I finally got there, however, they were fresh out of any kind of dragon figurines. I must have looked disappointed because the clerk asked me if a DRAGONFLY would work for what I needed. She showed me this beautiful beaded dragonfly on a stick. $30! I thanked her, but said my heart was set on a dragon.
Home again, I looked everywhere in town I could think of for a little dragon. I was ready to start perusing the internet when I got a gift in the mail from my dearest friend Kim from Australia. It was a dragonfly bookmark. It was so pretty I couldn’t bear using it as a bookmark, so I hung it on the lamp on my desk. Next thing I knew I was getting all kinds of dragonfly gifts from folks near and far away. A coin purse, pins, acrylic hanging dragonflies, metal ones for the mirror in my car, dragonfly stationary, rubber stamps, pens, stained glass ones for the window, magnets, jewelry…
Why even his lordship was bumping into dragonflies. We were remodeling at church and an old wing of the building was being torn down. HL went to take one last stroll around the place, and when he returned, he handed me one of those foam craft pieces the kids use – yep, a dragonfly. It had been lying in the middle of the hall where he walked. Guess God needed an advocate as I’m a little slow on the uptake, if you haven’t figured that out yet. It was like God was knocking on the door of my mind yelling, “Hellllooooo! Anyone in there?”
What brought it all to a head was housework. Yes, that dreaded, never-ending evil. I was dusting the ledge in our bedroom on which sat a little seascape arranged in the bottom of a pottery planter. I had made it at a women’s retreat a few years earlier. It had sand in the bottom, and other little objects arranged on the sand. While most gals decided to do gardeny-type scenes, I chose to do a seascape. There was a tiny bench, a tree, a few shells, blue marbles to represent the water. It was quite lovely and peaceful. Which was the point for me, I suppose. But that day as I was using the attachment on the vacuum I swung around and knocked the thing plum out of the window.
It made me sad. The pottery didn’t break, but the sand and other little pieces were everywhere. Did I want to get more sand and remake it? No. As much as I enjoyed it, it had probably outlived its purpose. So I picked up the pieces and dropped them in the garbage one by one. That’s when I saw it. Etched on a stone I’d not even remembered putting in there was a dragonfly. It hit me in that moment that dragonflies had been a part of my “history” and I hadn’t even realized it. All things considered, I knew I had my muse. (Though I was somewhat annoyed with God that he’d had to ruin something I loved to finally get my attention. What? You’re saying it was MY fault!)
I was driven, then, to figure out just WHY God had given me the dragonfly for a muse. I read up on dragonflies in different cultures, their symbolism, even watched the movie Dragonfly with Kevin Costner. But try as I might, after months of pondering and searching for some “spriitually cool” explanation, I decided the answer was a very simple one. I believe God gave me the dragonfly because he was honoring my dragonfly-ish nature. I flit from one thing to another — up, down, side-to-side, backward, forward, even in a diagonal pattern from time to time. I’m not speaking physically here. If I were, I’d be in much better shape! But emotionally I am so much that way. And it’s caused me no end of trials and tribulations! Especially as I try to work through the roller coaster that is this faith crisis I’ve been having.
And so the dragonfly saga continues. I think God sends them (or has others give them to me – just got a great pair of dragonfly earrings from my sister) to remind me he’s still around, no matter where my path has taken me.
In September my son came down the hall from the bedrooms and said, “Mom, there’s a big bug in your window.” I checked. Didn’t see anything. But an hour later while delivering some clean clothes, there it was. The biggest dragonfly I’d ever seen. It was bright blue. How it got in the house is beyond me, and I didn’t even think to snap a picture of it. I’ve been trying to store up some good karma, so to speak, by becoming a catch-and-release kind of person. All I could think about was how big that sucker was and if I could get it outside without damaging its wings.
My Tupperware quart measuring cup came to the rescue. I plopped it over the dragonfly on the window and slipped a sheet of paper underneath. My son opened the door, and I let it go. Thankfully it was unharmed and flew on its merry way. And I was walkin’ on air for days. It was like having a personal visit from God. (I was very thankful he didn’t use something like Balaam’s donkey to remind he was around. That would have been a heck of a lot hard to clean up after. I wouldn’t have been surprised, though. I HAD been kind of a jackass through this learning experience.)
So my faith journey continues. It’s partly a matter of realizing as you get older that not everything in life is black and white. And as a dragonfly, I’m certainly NOT patient enough for those times when God says, “I’ll tell ya later, kiddo,” as he passes me in the hall at church. Still he drops breadcrumbs for me every now and then so I don’t stray too far into the woods. Wednesday I was looking for a quote on grief for a friend. I thought I knew exactly which book it was in. It wasn’t. But what did jump out at me as I shuffled through the pages was this:
“You grew weary from your many wanderings, but you did not say, ‘It was useless.’ You found your desire rekindled, and so you did not weaken.” (Isaiah 57:10)
That’s something I’ve never said, that this journey, this search is useless. So while I’m flitting around caught up in an internal whirlwind, battling my demons, it’s reassuring to know that God is well aware I’m a wing nut and he loves me anyway. After all, he drew up my blueprints, so part of this is his fault!
So now, Plato, you know the rest of the story. For the rest of you, if you managed to read this far, please do stop by and say hello to Plato’s Groove. This dude has a heart full of magic words! Poetry, stories, music, he has it all. You’ll really enjoy his blog.