Soaring Prayers for the New Year
My seven-year-old daughter had three wishes for Santa this year: glow sticks, a math book, and an Elsa kite. Thankfully Santa delivered on all accounts, and two days after Christmas, with a hint of sun breaking through streaks of clouds, our family headed to an open field. Both kids chanted, “Fly kites, fly kites, fly kites!” Their energy soared high. My four-year-old son also received a kite, and both kids grasped their kites close to their chests as if holding treasure.
“Mine first,” Charlotte yelled as my husband held the body of the kite and took a few steps back while Charlotte unrolled the string. He reached his arm into the air and with a gust of wind let go of Elsa. All of our heads turned upward to the sky as we watched the kite fly higher and higher. Charlotte couldn’t stop smiling. “Look at her go,” she said.
This kite was a simple wish fulfilled for my daughter, but my wishes this year felt harder to bring to reality. I’ve been holding close the challenges of another year living in a pandemic, the seeming inability neighbors and friends have to engage in honest conversations, and the health scares and diagnoses of family and friends. In holding the prayers of this world, my community, and my own heart, I’ve felt untethered, lost in doubt and uncertainty. I’ve longed to feel God’s presence.
When it came time for Isaac to get his shark kite soaring, he had a few more missteps along the way. There were nose dives and immediate flops back to the ground. This is what my heart feels, I think. With every news headline and report from doctors, my heart crashes. Yet, Isaac continued to smile and lift his kite to the wind.
After an hour of kite flying, I turned to Charlotte and saw her sitting on the ground, her face to the sky watching Elsa dance in the wind. Her body rested confidently against the ground. I know this feeling too—of dancing and connecting with God and others. Of seeing the beauty of this creation. Of resting in stillness and silence. Of being held by the prayers of others.
Turning to the horizon, I saw more light, a shimmer of pink cascading through the clouds. As I watched the scene unfold, I felt the wind as a whisper of God’s Spirit—a reminder that even when I’m falling and floating, unsure and unsteady, I am held.
As we turn to a new year, may you know this whisper of the Spirit and feel it in your bones. May you run and cheer into the wind, and, when you fall, may you know the strength of the ground beneath you. And perhaps most importantly, when you feel alone and untethered, may you trust that the One who holds you close whispers to you: You are loved.
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