A Hopeful Table: Lessons from a Dragonfly

Today my Prince (fiance) gave me a gift...a rather beautiful lacey winged dragonfly. The little guy had gotten hit by a car window probably, and was there (still intact, though passed on already) on the ground when he came accross it today. It's now here at my desk, awaiting some way to preserve it meaningfully. Ideas anyone?

So i looked up dragonflys online today, hadnt known much about them. There are some fearful supersitions around them in Europe's past, but in the east they are seen quite differently. In Japan especially, they are big in the mythology there, symbols of joy and courage (thats why they are seen so much in the art of the Samuri). And i was surprsed to find out that it turns out a Japanese festival is happening right now, the festival of Oban/the Lantern Festival (some celebrate it now, some in August). And it seems the dragonfly symbol is part of this festival, our ancestors are seen as traveling upon dragonflys to revisit those they love. And later in the festival (which lasts three days), their spirits are lovingly released back to the heavens upon floating water lanterns, lanterns upon which folks write prayers for their beloved ancestors. The theme of all this is gratitute for those that have come before us, praying for their repose, and celebrating the good that was in their lives. I know some shy away from ritual and myth and symbol like this, but i feel these things can hold real depth, especially if seen as archetypal. The world of archetype and story and myth and symbol is a very precious thing i feel. Its simply inner nature...as much a gift from our Creator as outer nature.

And it all definintely has me thinking today. Has anyone heared the song Suteki Da Ne? Its one i really love, even though i know next to nothing about the movie it is from (Final Fantasy). If this video is any indication though, its a story about a world gone way too far in technology and power hunger and eerily rampant with evil (sound familiar?). Stories can bring hope when they come from a deep place though. This video, for example, has quite disturbing images of this disturbing techno-world, yet against all this is justaposed the softness and realness of nature, and the calmness of contemplation. The contrast is quite powerful i feel, and.... hopeful. It all culminates, it looks like, in returning to these more ancient and gentle roots, and in this story/video this return seems to involve an Oban festival of all things (at least thats what it looks like). Anyway, this dragonfly thing is what got me to look closer at it. Not that the video is important, but rather something that it brought up. There was just something about seeing it today, that contrast of hatred and powerlust against the beauty of nature and gentleness of ancient traditions. The feeling was....there is hope, there is hope, there is hope, even in the midst of all this...like this little whisper, like a precious thread to cling to. And its hope i feel when i look at the little dragonfly on my desk.

Dragonflys. Ancestors. Gentleness. Hope.

When i think of those that came before me, especially those like my grandmothers, i tend to think of their hands. What they touched, what they soothed, tears they wiped away... tears of others or their own. Warmth in their hands, like the warmth of nature. A soft heartbeat. Just human, real. Vulnerable. Hopeful, reaching, soothing.

That was their legacy to me in a sense, this feeling of hope their hands gave. That there really can be gentleness to turn to, even when there is evil so rampant everywhere. That He always leaves us that opening somehow. It all sounds ironic when i think about it, becuase one of my grandmothers was actually very abusive. Yet its the moments of kind soft hands that i am remembering tonight for some reason. Maybe that is what was most important, most real. Whatever the case, its given me hope. I can't quite explain it. But i am grateful....

(Images from here and here)

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