I called home to tell Marianne I needed to think. She knows my "thinking days" and, as much as she most likely despises them, she says, "OK. I love you!"
At first I headed to the city park. Not very country but close enough to begin my journey inward. I told her I was going to where I used to take my kids...when I still had kids. That might give you an idea of what my down day was all about. My kids grew up, and I didn't.
After getting my fill of moms and dads running, laughing and swinging their time away together with their five year olds, I headed out to a nearby state park. Here ducks and cranes, rabbits and deer all steal your attention and replace the hurt of the day with awe and wonder. Here in the lateness of winter and the long wanting of spring, life stands still, as we humans know it. Here the birds fly where they want and when. The snow of colder days still holds on with it's chilling grip. The ground is soft and muddy, giving hope to eagerly waiting grass that very soon will awaken from it's dormant life and carpet once again the hills and pathways of the park's residents and visitors alike.
But I, sitting alone in my car, listen to songs that bring back memories of "Daddy days" and challenges of a daring feat to "Walk across the creek on this log like me, Dad!"
I, with all my troubles and woes, much too sensitive to life to begin with, discover that life goes on for everyone else even when yours stops for a while.
Then I met a man with bigger problems than I. He appeared to be in his seventies. Although careful with his steps, he seemed quite spry for his age. He stood near the edge of the road with a kite spindle in his hands. Seemingly lost for a moment, he stared skyward.
The string ended just beyond the tall tree and floated across two more, nestling the kite atop the highest branch of what seemed to be the tallest tree in the park. I walked over and without speaking a word, stood beside the man and gazed in amazement at what he had accomplished.
There, for all the world to see, was his grandson's kite. How perfectly it landed and how appropriate it was.
It was a replica of a beautiful Bald Eagle with wings spread wide open. As the wind rushed through the tree tops the plastic eagle's wings fluttered and flapped. It looked so real.
Alas, the only solution the man had was to cut the string. His grandson believed Grandpa could solve any problem. Perhaps even climb up and get it.
"You wanted it to fly as high as it could, Billy, didn't you?"
"Yes, Grandpa. But I wanted to keep it forever."
"There just comes a time when the only thing you can do is to cut the string and let it go. By doing that, perhaps when it takes flight like an eagle does, it will come back to us," the grandfather said.
I watched the old man cut and release the kite as Billy's dream with wings snapped back and gently settled into its new position high atop the barren tree.
As the two walked away, I looked to the sky and saw my answer too. Tears ran down my cheek and with a big sigh I prayed...
"Oh God, my Heavenly Father. Hold me tightly. Today I have to cut the final strings that kept my two boys within my reach. I have trained them to fly like eagles. But I wanted to keep them forever. Maybe by doing this, when they too take flight like the eagle does, they will come back to me someday. Hold me, Father! I'm crashing back down to earth."
The best lessons in life are learned by living it.
Keith, Evan: You are eagles. Now fly!