Kites will not soar to the heavens with only the horizontal frame. There is also the danger of living in a way that focuses only on the vertical — being too spiritual. A person can get too wrapped up in the vertical, but most of us don’t have that problem. Our temptation is to think that what I think, feel, breathe, hear, touch is what’s important.
So here we have the basic structure of a kite: the horizontal and the vertical. Here is the basic structure of our lives. Indeed, Jesus put it another way: He said the greatest commandment for living is to love God (vertical) and to love neighbor (horizontal). The greatest commandment — the basic structure of human life — the life Jesus himself led: love of God and love of neighbor.
So, we have the basic structure of a kite: the horizontal is our caring relationship with our neighbor; the vertical is the abiding relationship with God.
And if our life is to be compared to flying a kite, there is another element to consider:
►The kite string. For a kite to fly, it needs a sturdy string. A kite resists the string, but a kite without a string will end up crashing to the ground. The string is not the kite’s enemy but is, in fact, the source of its power.
When I was a youngster, the other neighborhood kids and I would fly kites. When the wind was right, we could use a whole roll of string. And if the kite got caught in the upper winds, the kite would pull and tug, wanting to go higher. We’d tie another spool of string to our existing string and away the kite would rise hundreds of feet into the air — so high that it would be a dot in the sky. When it was that high, the resistance on the string was powerful, and the kite wanted to break loose from its tether. At the same time, if the kite broke free from the string the kite would become wildly erratic and eventually fall from the sky.
God is the kite string. God is the source of our power. We need to be grounded to God, connected to the “kite flyer” at all times. As we move about in life, sometimes we will move gently and sometimes wildly. It is in the tensions of life, in the push-and-pull of experiences, that the kite is allowed to fly higher and higher. In the end, it is our connection to God that will keep us from falling.
It is truly amazing what kite flying can teach us, if we are open to the lesson.
So let’s go fly a kite!