The video below is a kind of paradigm (or pattern) of life in its various stages and challenges. It begins with the summons of early childhood and the teenage years: that the we ought to take life by the horns, and that the world is our oyster. The video ends with the solemn reminder of the Lord that we must ultimately loose our life to gain and save it.
Consider the stages of this video. Our little hero has heard the great call of life, symbolized by the challenge to fly a kite! Now any of you who have ever flown a kite will testify that it is not as easy as it looks. “Romancing the wind” requires subtlety and careful finesse, and there are many unpredictable factors that come into play. Flying a kite is not a bad paradigm for life! Thrilling but complicated.
In the distance our little hero sees that others fly kites, high and noble and he aspires to their example. Yes, here is the beautiful idealism of early childhood, where a young boy seeks to imitate his father and everything seems possible.
But quickly our little hero learns that there is more to life than admiration and wanting to do something. He must put in his time and learn the careful moves of kite flying (life).
The animators show him as learning in stages, first on the level ground of elementary learning where he makes mistakes but learns, and repairs the damage. Then on a small hill (let us call it high school) where he has learned some of the moves of romancing the wind (life) but still is not quite ready. And then he graduates (steps up) to a higher hill, let us call it college or vocational school, and maturity. And finally he catches a breeze!
And now at last he has mastered life. His kite soars and he is in the groove, he is soaring high, he has romanced the wind and is at the top of his game!
But as life in this world often goes, he gets carried away. Instead of having authority over his life, events begin to overtake him, and he caught in the eventual snare that this world has for us all.
In effect he is caught in a whirlwind and this world begins to carry him away on its own terms. Things are out of control and ruin is looming! The world which our little hero had sought to master has mastered him and is leading him to ruin!
Sound familiar? So easily does this beautiful world lure us into its snare. So easily does it seek to possess us and carry us off, just like our little hero in the video.
St Augustine said, Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. (Conf 10.27)
And thanks be too God our little hero sees disaster come and he lets go! Somewhere in his depths he realizes that there is something more important than this world and the glory it offers. And so he lets go trusting in that “something greater” that will come. In letting go he fulfills the text of Jesus who said:
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Matt 16:25-26)
Yes, and here is the final stage of life we must all discover, “letting go.” A man’s life does not consist in possessions (Lk 12:15) And thus, we must learn to let go of life’s demands and learn to wait for God and the true Kingdom that is ours.
Our little hero learns that, having mastered life, he must now learn to let go, lest it carrying him away to certain death. It is a hard lesson and he sits sulking on the hill, but still alive and aware that he must now reach for something even higher that the highest breeze of this world. He must reach for heaven. And to to that, he must let go of this life’s glories and demands.
He must lose this life and his grip on it, to gain the next.
Enjoy this video, a little paradigm of life, yours and mine.