There is a story about a woman grieving the death of her daughter, or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, the one asks for a sign that the other is okay in heaven, and her yard is suddenly filled with dragonflies – which the other one had loved. It was the sign.
This story (or a version of it) was told at the funeral of my mom Elsie in 2002. At the church, it was just a nice story. Until we got home later that day. My brother pulled open the drapes to let in some sunlight, and there near the window, behind the drapes, was a dragonfly wind chime my mother must have put there. (Sidebar: my mom didn’t really like wind chimes; she thought they were noisy.) This discovery caused all of us to pause for a bit, each of us remembering the story told at the funeral.
Since then, dragonflies have become a “thing” in our family. At last count, I had about 58 of them in or around my house, depending on whether you counted a string of lights as one or as 10, and decorated flip-flops at 2 or 20 (I did not count in 10’s and 20’s.). Since then, most birthday gifts and often the Christmas gifts have some dragonfly motif on them – for everyone in the family.
I recently came across an article about the symbolism of the dragonfly. In almost every part of the world, it symbolizes change, the kind of change that is about the deeper meaning of life. Dragonflies also represent power and poise, because it is so agile and can move in all six directions (up, down, forward, backward, and side to side). A dragonfly can fly faster than my old Schwinn scooter could run (45 mph v. 30 mph). And a dragonfly represents simplicity because it is so effective and efficient in how much power it uses (compared to other insects) to what it does – and with graceful movements at that.
Because of their short lifespan (only a few months), it seems to me they really excel at living in the moment, moving away from and toward their desires with 360* insight. Ah, the wonderful, beautiful dragonfly.
I thought of it more than usual today because I have been working on some tedious details of the new business, but when I went out to get the mail, I had an escort of dragonflies. They told me to slow down, to remember the dance, to smell the flowers. They will take care of moving in six directions at once; all I have to do is watch them.
It’s satisfying – it’s calming -it’s …. it’s important and it makes me feel good to be welcomed by my dragonflies wherever I go. And to have my kids or grandchildren or nieces or other family stay connected to me and each other through our dragonflies. Once in a while, we all get the same gift with the dragonfly on it, but sometimes they are all different, as we are different, too. It’s a game to find one the others don’t have, or that they would love. We, too, beyond the surface and look deeper into our relationships and other aspects of our lives. The amazing dragonfly, whose gifts come with age and maturity, keeps us mindful to live without regrets.
What do you share with your family that keeps you connected, even when things change? What have you kept over the years, to remind you of your connections? Do you keep them out where people can admire them, or are they tucked away for your eyes only?