As you know, I was ill for many years with chemical sensitivity. My condition was so serious that I was quarantined in my home for seven years. By my second year of quarantine, I didn’t know how I was going to continue. I didn’t know why God had let me live if I was just going to be ill and isolated. My questions boiled up inside until I came to a breaking point. At that time, I was only able to go outside the house if there weren’t any running cars or lawnmowers or tractors around–and as long as no one was burning ditches or spraying crops. The conditions were right, so I cut across the fields and walked to an isolated lake behind the house. I sat down on the bank and watched the dragonflies darting over the water. When I was little, I used to try to catch dragonflies, but they were always too quick for me. As I sat and watched them that day, I felt desperation rising up in my soul. I cried out to God, “Is this all there is? Will things ever get better? Do you you even know what’s happening? Do you even care? Are you even there?”
As I watched the dragonflies, I prayed, “Lord, if you love me–if things are going to be okay–make a dragonfly land on my finger.” I sat and waited, but nothing happened. Eventually, I walked back to the house feeling foolish. I thought about the verses telling us not to put God to the test, and the verses about faith being the evidence of things not seen. I tried to convince myself that I was all right, but truthfully, I wasn’t. I had desperately needed that sign–and it hadn’t come.
The next day, conditions were right again (no running lawn mowers–etc) so I ventured out into the yard. As I walked by a bush, I saw something blue. I went closer and realized it was a giant dragonfly. I had never seen one so big. It’s wing span was at least five inches wide. I expected it to dart away when I approached, but it didn’t. It was hanging upside down, and it looked dead. I reached out to nudge it, and it climbed onto my finger. I’ve never been more shocked. I pulled my hand back with the dragonfly clinging to my finger, and I remembered my prayer from the day before. A wave of overwhelming gratitude washed over me. This was the sign I had prayed for–the sign I so desperately needed. I went over and sat on the steps and looked at the dragonfly. It was stunning. I studied it’s huge wings and bright blue body. I expected it to fly away any second, but it clung to my finger like it was glued in place.
I brought the dragonfly up to my face and looked at its eyes. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. A dragonfly’s eye isn’t dead-looking–it looks like swirling liquid. If you’ve ever seen a rainbow in a puddle of gasoline–that’s what a dragonfly’s eye looks like. It swirls and shimmers with purple and blue tints. It’s breathtaking. I sat there for several minutes looking at the dragonfly–enjoying its beauty–and then I said, “Lord, if you really sent this dragonfly to tell me that you love me and that everything’s going to be okay, you can let it go now.” Immediately, the dragonfly flew off my finger and zipped over the roof of the house.
After that day, I endured five more years of quarantine, but they weren’t as hard as the first two. You ask me how I got through my illness and quarantine, and the truth is that I looked into the eye of a dragonfly and knew that I was loved.