I was watching a father and his little boy flying a kite today on a nearby school ground. My mind went back forty years when I did that with my young daughter. I am totally a klutz when it comes to making anything requiring precision, and our “kite” was no exception. I looked kite-like, but it did not fly the way a kite should fly.
But this didn’t bother my little girl. She would take the end of the string and run as fast as she could while I launched it into the air. It “flew” as long as she ran, but the minute she stopped, it crashed.We lost it one day to a strong breeze, not because it flew, but because the wind picked it up and deposited it on the school’s roof.
Forty-plus years later, she mentioned it as one of the good memories of childhood—making and flying a kite with her dad. She did not remember it being the aerodynamic disaster that I recall, but no matter. A memory was forged and internalized as one of the fun moments of growing up at 136 3rd Av. N.E.
The lesson is obvious. The child I saw today successfully flying his kite with his dad cannot have had more fun than we did with our hapless creation. Maybe they enjoyed their outing longer than we did. Still, having accepted defeat on my part, I’m sure we compensated by walking across the road and enjoying some kind of treat at home. In both cases, a good memory crafted and deposited.
This bit of recollection speaks to me about not letting the imperfect in our lives get in the way of doing something far more significant. The notion that it’s not good enough far too often inhibits us from enjoying and sharing what we have. Nobody’s going to care if you aren’t the best pie maker and your crusts don’t turn out. Make the thing, and better yet, make it with someone special. Then have some joking about the crummy crust. That moment together is more important than the pie.
The prophet Zephaniah—remember him?—wrote this:
The LORD, your God, is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing. (NIV)
The many faces of God—mighty warrior, disciplinarian, but also the Father who joyfully delights over us while singing. And you are created in that image.
And the Angels Sing is a swing-era song written by Johnny Mercer. My favorite line is, “You smile, and the angels sing.” Treat yourself and listen to the whole piece. Then think about whose life you light up just with a smile, then smile and
repeat. And you know, as well as I do, there are no imperfect smiles when you mean it.