Iâ€™ve always loved dragonflies with their shimmering wings, colossal eyes, and long stick bodies. They make me want to fly with them, twirling and gliding through the air. When Iâ€™m swimming and a dragonfly falls into the water near me, Iâ€™ll dip my index finger gently into the water until its little feet catch on. Then weâ€™ll sail to the shore, where I give my passenger a moment to rest before releasing it into some nearby foliage. One time a dragonfly even molted on me, leaving its old shell behind.
You can imagine my delight when I discovered a dragonfly resting on one of the patio stones in my English garden, scissoring its black-webbed wings. I raced pell-mell to my computer to research how to add more of these fascinating creatures to my landscape. When I discovered that dragonflies werenâ€™t sold and that engineering their ideal environment would entail creating another shallower pond, I sighed in disappointment.
But I stopped mid-sigh with a question: Was it silly and selfish to pray about my desire to attract dragonflies? After all, I reasoned, cherishing Godâ€™s ideas is valuable. As Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, said in her book â€śScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures,â€ť â€śDesire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deedsâ€ť (p. 1). As I pondered this idea more deeply, I had a revelation: It wasnâ€™t about me! It was about being a good steward to Godâ€™s creation. After all, I had a lot to offer: a lovely pond, tall sticks for the dragonflies to land on, and an unlimited supply of mosquitoes for them to eat.
And so I did pray about having the opportunity to host dragonflies in my yard. I cherished the qualities that they express: beauty, joy, love, and gentleness. Every time I saw a dragonfly in my yard â€“ even for a moment as it passed through â€“ I loved it. Sometimes I even told them so out loud. This went on for a month or two, and then I forgot all about dragonflies as other things occupied my thought. Not too long after this, I noticed that the dragonflies were starting to linger in my garden and that there were more of them. Each year more and more came, and I reveled in their beauty and grace. Today, about two years later, the yard is full of dragonflies of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Theyâ€™ve moved in as if they own the place, and some donâ€™t even startle when I waltz up and admire them. A wonderful side effect is that theyâ€™ve reduced my mosquito population.
Iâ€™ve prayed about many things in my life, large and small. Every day, I endeavor to pray for myself, the community, and the world. Sometimes, though, I forget to pray about the small things. This was a good reminder that God shows us how to put even the simplest of our desires into practice.