dragonfly

Surprised by a dragonfly

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by Elisa

Elisa Morgan is the author of The Beauty of Broken: My Story and Likely Yours Too (Thomas Nelson, 2013), a speaker, and publisher of FullFill, a digizine for women of all ages and stages of life and leadership.

I just got hit in the face with a dragonfly. Or was it by a dragonfly? Not sure.

It was a normal morning bike ride, freewheeling myself down my favorite slope, wind whirling around me in a happy, happy, happy moment.

When – BAM! – I get hit in the face. Splat between helmet and cheek, on the right side just above where the chinstrap buckles in place. A blur of iridescent purpley blue and then a crinkly, snapping sound like a plastic baseball against a plastic bat.

The thing didn’t knock me off my bike, though it was the size of a dinner plate. But it surprised me for sure.

Funny, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in most spots in life. The late night call when someone is in a pickle. The delayed flight. The dog throw-up in the same spot on the new rug when I’d just replaced the old rug.

After MUCH practice with the messier side of life, I’ve learned to purse my lips and clamp my tongue in place when such stuff happens. It does little good to wail on and on about the inevitable ugh-y-ness of such moments.

bikehelmet

To be honest, I’m now somewhat of an expert in the unexpected:

Pregnancy: my daughter, as a teen.

Addiction: my son, for nearly a decade of his life.

Loss: my parents (somewhat expected) and then my third grandchild (a complete shock).

Illness: my dearest friend diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a treasured soul diagnosed with HIV-AIDS (really?), my husband’s need for four surgeries in five months for a stubborn infection in his leg.

Choices: the garden of vines and flowers galloping up my daughter’s leg. Who said she could get a tattoo?

There have been good surprises, too (lest I be all Natalie Negative here).

• My daughter – and son – as state ranked swimmers and the chance to WOOT till my lungs burst.
• My husband, reading and re-reading my latest book and telling me he loved it – he loves me – with tears in his eyes. Precious.
• My grandson’s arrival into our lives, and the resulting reshaping of how I define joy.

The random, the variant, the not-planned – yep, I’ve become uber-accustomed to its arrival in my days and nights. I stand prepared in most moments to identify, accept and eventually to embrace what it brings. All of it. Because all of it shapes all me and who I am.

I get the beauty of broken, and in fact, that some parts of life are only beautiful when they have been broken.

Oh, the utter freedom and joy that erupts when I admit that I come from a broken family (my original family split apart by divorce and alcohol).

And then to go further: to admit that despite my best “give it all to Jesus” efforts, and really working hard at mothering, I still come from a broken family. There’s no such thing as a perfect family. And this realization frees me to embrace the beauty of mine, just as it is – with the unexpected and all.

Today, my family is gooey-in-the-middle. I put the toothpick in and it comes out wet. Admittedly, at first I was disappointed to discover this reality. I wanted my family – and me – done. For the timer to go off and bing! – all to be well.

I’m coming to see things differently, and I lift my nose to the delightful aroma of souls in the making! Of people in various stages of life who are becoming who they were always intended to be! And me – bent into humility enough to see the beauty in their rising.

Then comes the moment where I get hit in the face with a dragonfly. And I’m surprised. On my supposed-to-be-free moment of pedaling downhill, I am surprised by such an interruption. Still.

Guess I’m not done learning. If I were done – bing! – I’d be dead.

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Comments

  1. It’s truly amazing how we are able to adapt and learn to love that which we never thought possible. And that we can suddenly be surprised by something ordinary. Although getting smacked in the face by a dragonfly is probably not so ordinary. This is a beautiful post. Full of perfect analogies. Love it.

  2. ‘I’m coming to see things differently, and I lift my nose to the delightful aroma of souls in the making!’

    Love that line! This is a really thought provoking post, thank you!

  3. I am new at all this – but God has led me to read and read blogs, because I know he wants me to do this — to be hit by a dragonfly is by far the most touching to me to this very day – I needed this today, to see others are struggling with the same things I am – to know my sisters in christ are out there an we have a small group – Nationally! I am loving your writings, and will look for that first book and bookmarked on my calendar for the 2nd one.
    Blessings.

  4. Morning! enjoying your posts :) and thought I’d share that if something like that happened to me – I’d wonder what that dragonfly might be bringing to me – in the form of it’s own innate wisdom – especially since it felt it necessary to die to do it!! ;) and this is what I found.

    Damselfly/Dragonfly’s Wisdom Includes:

    Mastery of life on the wing
    Power of flight
    Power to escape a blow
    Understanding dreams
    Power of light
    Breaking down illusions
    Seeing the truth in situations
    Swiftness
    Change
    Connection to Dragon

    Enjoy the gifts of Mastery, Power and Understanding.

    Blessings!!

  5. Love this! Great post for the morning. Thank you!

  6. I enjoyed this post very much!

    You sure have had some surprises! Dragonfly sounds much better than my experience. I had a hornet fly in my mouth on a bike ride. Stung me, of course. At least I didn’t swallow it. That would have been an even bigger surprise and test in flexibility!

    Thanks!
    Michele

  7. Ugh! Michele – swallowing would NOT be fun! xxoo! Elisa

  8. Love the “gooey-in-the-middle” analogy… I can relate. We’re all in a state of process. Thanks for this!

  9. Beautifully said.

  10. Thanks Tacy! Elisa

  11. I loved this…thank you for sharing it…it reminds me a little of an amazing article called The Problem of the Hickory Tree -http://www.endtime.org/library/articles/hickory_tree.html

    I loved the part about you sticking in the toothpick and still being gooey and wanting to be DONE. Gosh I get that so completely!

    If you read the article I’d love to know if it resonates with you as it has with me! Thanks again I love this blog a lot..

  12. these are almost the exact words i was just thinking this morning!
    several years ago God promised me “and your children will be taught by the Lord and have much peace”. it’s been hard watching the lessons, and often being taught myself in them, but it is always amazing to see who they are becoming….and i am always full of gratitude that He still grows me into who He created me to be!!

  13. Wow, so powerful, thank you for sharing.

    In many cultures, dragonflies are symbolic of change, maturity and depth of character, power and poise, defeat of self-created illusions, focusing on living in the moment, opening of one’s eyes, adability, joy, lightness of being, and transformation.

    You are obviously not a stranger to any of these things. Perhaps the dragonfly that collided with was attracted to you for being its equal?

  14. * that collided with ^ you

  15. Learn more about nourishing your life at http://lifenourisher.blogspot.com

  16. Thank you so much for this story! When I have struggles in my life with my kids (17 & 19 yrs old, hardly kids!) and they rebel or drag us through difficult situations I find myself wondering what I have done wrong but I am trying to learn to roll with the punches (I’m Type A so it’s not easy). You have helped me realize that I just have to keep moving forward no matter how many times I think “I won’t survive this’ …. and keep in mind that we can’t always control what happens in our lives but we can control how we react. You are an inspiration!

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