To fly a kite on Mackinac Island was one of my many grand ideas, the kind which absolutely MUST be carried out in order to make my life full and complete, lacking nothing. I convinced myself of a void in my life experience which could only be filled by said idea. No other island would do, and no other kite but a sufficiently RED kite. This was whimsy. This was romance. This was adventure.
We ferried to the island and bought the perfect red kite at one of the shops in the quaint downtown of Mackinac. As I assembled my dream, I knew that no other joy would compare to what was about to take place. My happiness would be utterly complete. This, I told myself, is exactly what I need to make my life the envy of all. This would give me meaning. This would be perfection.
As the breeze caught the fabric of my red kite, she began to rise with my hopes clinging to the other end of string.
I cried with joy, which lasted only seconds. That was about how long my dream stayed in the sky before plummeting into a nose dive that pinned her to the dirt. I tried again. And again. And again with more of the same. I couldn’t keep the damn thing in the sky for longer than a minute.
Visions of myself trotting happily across the lawns of downtown Mackinac Island, red kite in tow, soon changed to nightmares of frustration, cussing, and broken kite tips after countless failure.
I decided I thoroughly hated kites. And even more, I hated whimsical islands and the color red. What useless ideas! What ridiculous sentiments! What pointless creations! Cursed be the day this dream entered my mind!
Nothing was as I imagined. But then again… is it ever?
Lofty dreams, like kites, fly high in our good intentioned imaginations. But the assembly of dreams, far from satisfying, often cause a sober realization of that which we idealized. That for which our hearts long to accomplish, experience, and cause in the short life we are allotted are not achieved without effort. To put wind to the fabric means research, countless nosedives, patience, dedication, and mending when it breaks. The stairway to soaring on the heights is built upon failure. Not instant success. And the foundation of that stairway is hope that sets another brick upon failure.
Dreams, like kites, are held steady by strings of hope held in our hands. When you let go of the hope, you lose the dream. Dreams do not cease because of failure, because things do not turn out as they were imagined. Dreams cease for lack of hope. Hope births new dreams in the wake of fallen ones. Hope steps over failure and tries again until failure tires of competing with her stubborn resolve.
Hope is what causes me to take a busted red kite, mend it, and learn to fly it well until it soars on the heights to the envy of all who live upon whimsical islands.