A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Joy on a String

Kite-Flying and Prayer

By Liz Pearce

by Liz Pearce

I love to fly kites. Simple. Home-made, with ‘found’ materials and cheap string. No pretensions. Just joy on a string.

The kite I have flown for the past few years is made of heavy plastic that was wrapped around a mattress. A trapezium with two cylinders to channel the breeze. A plastic cone for a tail. Polyester twine wrapped around a piece of driftwood: so very frayed, I fear it will snap during flight.

I play out a little string and tuck the driftwood into my pocket. Then I hold my arms aloft, kite between them, until a breath of wind lifts it and pulls it closer and closer to its source. Focusing all the while, I let out the string metre by metre, feeling the hum of the universe through the taut twine.

An excursion to fly my kite is a bit like going into my heart room to pray.


I make a decision.

I conform my attitude to that decision.

I gather the right materials, even if it is only myself.

I surrender myself to a higher power.

If at first I get distracted or it doesn’t seem to work, I simply try again.

I focus, always focus, on the other.

I then let it soar, let the prayer rise like burning incense.

I tug at the heart strings. It tugs at mine.

For me, it is a solitary experience: just myself, the kite and the elements. Occasionally others witness my attempts to fly my kite. Cars pull over. Parents point out the kite to their children. Snapshots are taken. Perhaps a promise is made to the self to do the same. The same can happen when we pray. We cannot know how the Spirit will move those who witness our humble attempts to relate to the divine.

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