Friday, October 8, 2010

Hot Air Balloon

This morning, sleepy-eyed and pre-coffee, I stood at my ironing board engaged in my wake up routine... the ironing of pants. I do it every day (that Scott works) and have for years. I hate to stand at the ironing board and do four or five pair of pants at a time, so I do one each morning. Works for me. Anywho - I was working away on the pants, and I kept hearing a noise outside. A loud noise - a torch noise, the release of enormous pressure in a short spurt. The unmistakable sound of a hot air balloon.

It's a common noise every now and again around here. On beautiful, crisp Saturday mornings, I've heard it while still in bed just after the sun has crept over the horizon. We saw one last fall on a Friday afternoon just before dusk, and it landed right behind our house in the yard in front of the elementary school. So this morning, I recognized the sound and moved over to the paned door leading onto our deck to try to find it in the sky.

There it was in all its multi-colored splendor - every hue from the rainbow. So close I felt like I could reach out and touch it. I ran to get David, and I woke Madalyn up and carried her outside to have a look. The three of us stood in amazement watching it float with the ebb and flow of the wind and rise with the shot of a flame. The pilot waved down to us and issue the decree of the day, "Good morning!" And he passed right over our heads as we gazed upwards at the majestic beauty of his balloon.

There are few things in life that render me to simply stand still and observe. One is the hot air balloon. It's magnificent and beautiful and mesmerizing. It's simple yet intricately complicated. It's peaceful. It's allowing yourself to float and move at the mercy of the winds. It's the loss of control to the highest degree. In a hot air balloon, the pilot and passengers travel with only one truth in their favor - hot air is lighter than cool air. It's really that simple. Of course, there's a lot of work that goes into taking that balloon up in the air, and the atmosphere needs to be favorable as well. But without the simple truth that when air is heated it weighs less than cool air, no amount of work or atmospheric conditions will send that balloon into its flight.

The balloon filled my head this morning about my own truths. What truths do I operate my own balloon on? I looked up at that colorful display of simple truth and somewhat envied the pilot. It looks so freeing, to fly above and enjoy the creation below. And I realize that my ultimate goal here lately is to do just that (figuratively, of course) - to rise above it all and enjoy what lies around me. My faith is like that propane that heats the air in the balloon - big bursts of flame and heat causing the molecules of air inside my balloon to enlarge and dance around, energizing and rising. And then, of course, there are those days my faith is weak and my balloon deflates and loses altitude. No matter how complicated the environmental factors become, the one simple truth controls my balloon. My faith in God.

Thank you to the balloon pilot this morning. I can't think of a better way to start my weekend. Tomorrow I'll be running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I will be surrounded by women (and a few men will be in the mix) who have survived cancer, who have lost loved ones to cancer, or who are currently battling cancer. I can't think of a morning in my life that my faith will be more important to me than tomorrow when I am in that crowd with my own mother. We were there two years ago when we believed her to be cancer free, and this time, her situation is much different. There are times when my mother's health gives me reason for my balloon to deflate, but I have to keep in mind that God wishes for me to use Him as my fuel, to find in Him a way to rise above it and look around. It's hard to understand - no, it's impossible to understand - why my mother has cancer. But I doubt I will find a single soul in the crowd tomorrow that understands the whys of cancer in their own loved ones.

Lord, refill my propane tank. Let me rise and float and drift on the ever-changing winds, knowing full well I am not in control. Let me take in the beauty below. And fill my balloon so that others might see your colorful beauty and majesty in me...

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