but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known.
My grandmother said that in her day dragonflies were called “darning needles” and they sewed children’s mouths shut if they were sassy to their parents. This terrified me. Dragonflies seemed to be curious about humans. They flew around and close to me — and I was a sassy little kid. You don’t hear a dragonfly coming until it’s right in front of you, and if it wanted to sew your mouth shut it could. One day, a neighbor boy stood in the field and raised one arm, index finger extended. He said it had something to do with dragonflies seeking the highest point. When he allowed a dragonfly to land on his finger, I thought he was very brave. He must have been a good boy, too, because the dragonfly left him alone.
I feel sorry for people who are too busy to notice the dragonflies. The genius of God’s perfect design is so evident in these amazing creatures. For centuries scientists have studied them, especially their wings and their eyes. Two sets of delicate wings allow dragonflies to hover, fly loops, go backward and sideways. They can come to a complete stop at 30 miles per hour. And their large multifaceted eyes are made up of thousands of lenses making it possible for them to see nearly 360 degrees around them.
Last week, I was writing in my car at the lakeshore when I noticed hundreds of dragonflies darting around. Their teal bodies reflected the radiance of the sunlight bouncing off the sparkling water. Now, instead of being afraid of them, I’m curious. The world seemed silent to me again, like it had when I was a child. Focused only on the dragonflies, I got out of the car and raised one arm, index finger extended. Surprise! One did land on my finger. She clung tight to me as I lowered my hand to get a better look. I wondered how she saw me through those many lenses in her bulging eyes.
In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says our understanding of God is like “looking in a mirror darkly.” In Paul’s time, mirrors cast an imperfect image. Sometimes, the glass reflected multiple images of an object creating an effect much like the way dragonflies must see. I suppose that’s the way the dragonfly saw me, a garbled image of something bigger and greater then she could begin to fathom.
Mother Teresa once said, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence….”
And so do the dragonflies move in silence, seeing us in a mirror darkly the same way we see God.
Have you noticed the dragonflies this summer? Stop, savor the silence, raise your hand and see if one rests on your finger.
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