My husband died on a summer day in June. The grief was the most profound feeling I had ever experienced. It was during the first few days and weeks of my insurmountable sorrow I began to take notice of a dragonfly that would appear to sit by me whenever I went outside. If I sat on the step, he was there. If I went to the park he was never far behind.
I had of course seen dragonflies before but this was different. This one seemed to be around and not just in passing. He would sit close by and wait patiently. I didn't know why but I found a small measure of comfort in his presence.
It was a few months later that I came across this story. Suddenly it all made sense.
As time goes on I find great comfort in painting these lovely and gentle creatures. With each brush stroke I think about those who have gone far too soon. I think about that dragonfly that came to me in the early days of my grief and the personal message of hope that he bestowed upon me. Our loved ones are never far from us. We just need to open our eyes and believe.
I carry this story in my heart.
I pray that you will carry it in your heart as well.
The Dragonfly Story: by Doris Stickney
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 that had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken 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……