Waterbugs, Dragonflies and one special little boy

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I can't think of an experience more sobering than attending the funeral of an eight-year-old. But the service we were a part of yesterday was by no means a funeral but a true "Celebration of Life". And what an amazing life this little man lived. He packed more into 96 months than most of us have done with the gift of much more time.

When I walked into the church, the foyer was filled with countless momentos of Kyle's personality. Life sized pictures of him with those he loved. His collections of everything from seashells to coins to Pokemon cards. His honorary badge and membership from the police department. The Snohomish County fire department honor guard was there to escort the family. Some friends had organized a room called "Tiles for Kyle" where his classmates and friends could decorate a blank tile using his favorite colors of blue and pink. His classmates had made pictures of dragonflies that were hung with ribbon on the walls. The stage of the church's auditorium was decked out with Valentine's hung on huge ficus trees-- also made by his classmates. A friend and fellow second grader, who had started a campaign last year to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research, set up a great display where one had the opportunity to donate to his cause, buy a blue "ooh-um-gawa" bracelet and share memories of Kyle in a guestbook. The love in this room was palpable. The impact this child had on his community was unbelievable. Although there was truly sadness in the air, you could also feel hope. Hope that Kyle's spirit would live on. Hope that his life was not in vain. And it wasn't. Not for a minute. I was a bucket of tears from the moment I laid eyes on the photos of his smiling face and I thought "this is how he wants to be remembered." Laughing. Smiling. Loving others. Really loving. Living life. Really living.

The morning Kyle passed away, his mom posted a wonderful story on his blog called "Waterbugs and Dragonflies". (hence the dragonfly pictures) I loved the symbolism and reminder of, not only our journey to Heaven, but how it shows concern and explanation for those left behind. It's my prayer that all who were loved by Kyle, and loved him in return, will draw comfort from knowing that he has landed at his final destination and is flying happily in his wonderful new world of sun and air.
Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more."
Look!" said one of the water bugs to another. "One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?" Up, up, up it slowly went....Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn't return...
"That's funny!" said one water bug to another. "Wasn't she happy here?" asked a second... "Where do you suppose she went?" wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. "I have an idea". The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why." "We promise", they said solemnly.
One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.
When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn't believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body.
His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings...The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!
Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.
The dragonfly remembered the promise: "The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why." Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water...
"I can't return!" he said in dismay. "At least, I tried. But I can't keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I'll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they'll understand what has happened to me, and where I went."
And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air.......