Originally composed April 14, 2015
Today I talked to the 9&10 grade girl students about small things that escalate to big problems and conflicts. One girl shared that she hates when people are attention seeking; When they tell all their business on Facebook and such, but then get upset when someone responds in a manner they weren’t expecting. I asked the girls why they think people seek out attention in that way. What I shared with them is that sometimes people lack attention in key relationships and they’re looking for it from someone else. But my question was “What else is going on inside?” Well later on today, I got the answer to my question in what I’ll call the Dragonfly Experience.
While I was finishing up some work in the portable, I kept hearing a buzzing noise. The first couple times I looked, I didn’t see anything in the area where the noise was coming from. A few minutes later, I discovered a baby dragonfly. After hearing him buzz for a few more minutes, but noticing that he hadn’t moved from that spot, I then realized that he is probably having a hard time flying. Nonetheless, once I identified the problem, I didn’t decide to do anything to help the dragonfly.
It’s easy to assume that the dragonfly just wanted attention because on the surface, he was just sitting over there, not moving and making a bunch of noise. We can easily get aggravated without first viewing the situation from the other party’s point of view. We usually don’t ask questions and try to figure things out. We take a selfish approach by just feeling like or thinking that the other person is just trying to make our life inconvenient when truthfully, they are dealing with an inconvenience themselves.
I thought to myself “I mean, it’s just a dragonfly.” In other situations, we think to ourselves, “She’s just pregnant”, “It’s just a nude picture”, “Everyone struggles at some point” or “I’m glad its not me”. It is so insensitive to minimize other’s struggles just because we know of, or are dealing with something much bigger. Many times, we send the wrong message, especially when we claim to represent Jesus, when we make it seem like only large situations require attention and we assume or expect that smaller situations will just “work themselves out.” But much like I did with the dragonfly, we refuse to or choose not to help.
After observing for some time, I realized the dragonfly didn’t have a problem flying, he was just trying to get out of the room, but he didn’t understand that the window was between where he was and where he was trying to be. He didn’t know he had to go through something open, like the door, which happened to be on the other side of the classroom. Have you ever considered that those who are struggling haven’t even identified their problem and it could be you, on the outside looking in, that could help them see it? We have to take a break from judgment to help others see where they’re going. It’s easy to see where you want to be but it isn’t always as easy to devise a plan to get there.
I used a piece of paper to move the dragonfly away from the window hoping he would finally be able to identify the way out of the room. But instead of him flying around the room and finding the door, he went toward the light, then back to the window. My initial thought was “Ugh, I give up.” But why? Obviously he was unable to find his solution from the beginning. So why is it that all of a sudden I expected him to be able to do it? Unfortunately, some matters take more than one conversation, prayer or counseling session to fix. After something is addressed a solution must be presented and most times guidance is still necessary even thereafter. I’m not sure how the story ended with the dragonfly. I didn’t see him finally get where he wanted to be, which perhaps is a lesson in itself. My carelessness could be the reason he died in the classroom, hoping and wishing to return to his original habitat. And while this is a seemingly insignificant circumstance because this encounter was with a bug, it is a fable, if you will, revealing the necessity to be compassionate to all.
There are several morals to this story.
-Don’t misinterpret attention – seeking behavior.
-Don’t be selfish or self absorbed.
-Help, don’t judge.
-Follow through, all situations are not solved overnight
-Don’t give up on people or situations.