Friend or Foe?

Wind always fascinated me. My 7-year-old hand became an airplane as I stuck it out the window while Dad drove the 1952 Hudson Hornet at the break-neck speed of 60 miles per hour. I enjoyed watching the wind blow water across the neighborhood as water shot high into the air from our garden hose. Wind was my friend. (The Hornet in this picture is not the car Dad drove. I saw it recently at the Enchanted Trails RV Park in Albuquerque, NM.)

Earlier in life, I enjoyed being outdoors. I was 12 years old. It was Saturday morning with a good breeze blowing across our back yard in El Cajon, California. After breakfast, I assembled my kite, tore up an old pillowcase and made the tail, and gave the kite a test flight. I could have bought a 425-foot-long roll of Megalon string, but dad allowed only 300-foot rolls; so I bought 3 rolls. I named my kite Bird. It took off fast – but nose-dived! Ouch!

I made one adjustment to the tail and tried it again. Beautiful!

I waited for a good gust of wind and launched my Bird. Within a half hour, I had used up one roll of string. Tying the string to a stick, I wondered, why not add another roll of string?

I tied the string securely to the beginning of a new roll. Working the Bird very carefully, I released the second roll of string. I had never put a kite up that far. I was happy, but my natural curiosity began working overtime.

Would I be able to take it up another 300 feet? Let’s try it!

I attached the third roll of string and slowly let it out. At this point, allowing for the angle of the kite’s ascent, the kite was probably 750 feet above the ground and in the main air flow that blew above El Cajon Valley. The Bird was tugging firmly on the stick that the string was tied to.

“Eugene, Mom said it’s time to come in for lunch.”

I don’t remember who the messenger was, but what should I do with the Bird? There was no way I could bring it down in time for lunch. Could I tie it to the fence by the telephone pole and see if it’s still flying in an hour? Why not? What happens if the wind stops blowing? I don’t know, but Mom’s calling, so I’ll find out later.

After lunch, I hurried back outside to check on the experiment. I could hardly believe it! The wind had picked up, and the high-flying Bird was not about to come down. And now I began pondering….

I’ve never had a kite that well-balanced. Probably never will again. I’ve never put a kite up that high. Probably never will again. I’ll never be challenged to fly a kite again. I’ve done it!

After I stood there for about 10 minutes looking at the sight, I cut her loose. It was amazing to watch the Bird fly higher and across the valley until it disappeared out of sight. Did it come down in town somewhere? Maybe. But probably on one of the hills surrounding the valley.

The wind is normally a friend to kite-flyers. Years later I taught my boys to fly kites, but they never matched my experiment with the Bird. Wind also turns the giant turbines on wind farms across the plains which generate electricity.

However, most people also understand that the wind can be an enemy. Trucks and trailers are blown over and their contents get scattered all over the highways. Tornados and hurricanes destroy hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and businesses every year. The wind kicks up tremendous haboobs – dust and sandstorms up to 100 feet high – which cover towns and cities with thick layers of dust and sand.

But wind isn’t the only thing that blows across our lives that either help or hurt us. Our words and attitudes can benefit or destroy people. We can either make their day or ruin it. We can either bless others and help them improve their lives or curse them and send them into a spiral of despair. Look at three verses in Proverbs 15.

Verse 13, “Happiness makes a person smile, but sadness can break a person’s spirit”

Verse 18, “People with quick tempers cause trouble, but those who control their tempers stop a quarrel.”

Verse 28, “Good people think before they speak, but foolish people pour out foolishness.”

Don’t speak words that kick up storms or create devastation; use your words to help people. Be a friend, not a foe. Be a blessing to your community, and God may bless you.

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