I was turning 50, and one day while out on my patio I looked up to see one of those beautiful hot air balloons floating freely across my field of vision. It was probably the unmistakable sound of the heated air being released up into the balloon that got my attention. So glad I did, because that’s when I decided, now was the year!
I had wanted to go on a free float for a long time, just never even considered spending the money, you know, braces for the kids, college, saving for retirement, you name it. After all, delayed gratification is a hallmark of adulthood, right?
Nuts to that. I was turning the big 5-0, and I’m heading into the sky!
Granted, a free float over Parsons, Kansas is not exactly the same as, say, the Ozarks, but hey, I wasn’t complaining. And picky! The weather has to be just right (air speed less than 5-10 mph) on top of other typical meteorological fussiness, like lightning. We had to reschedule a few times, but it was well worth the wait. And I say “we”, since Bob (who typically likes to keep his feet on the ground, heights not being one of his best friends) had agreed to go with me. The other plus with the delay was that we got to go alone with the pilot—no joke! A private flight, in his very own racing balloon!
I was so stoked.
All I can say is, “OH WOW!!” The take off was so gentle it was barely discernible, if at all. And such utter control—our pilot floated his craft expertly among the trees, plucking a small branch for me, and skimmed us right along the tops of wildflowers in a nearby meadow. At one point we were up so high you could get a great aerial perspective of the town.
That was s-e-v-e-r-a-l years ago. So what brought this to mind?
A bloggish friend and poet, Nicodemus (great name, yeah?) posted a touching and poignant short story about a woman in a wheelchair and her first balloon ride. Only hers was on a tether; in other words, it was tied to the ground. When they got to 100 feet, the wind got a little choppier and frightened her, and she insisted on the pilot reeling in some of the rope. Here’s the quote:
“It wasn’t until later that George explained that flying freely, without the ropes, would have been much smoother because of a lack of resistance.”
Ouch. How many times does Jesus, our pilot through this temporal life, want to take us on a beautiful free float, give us perspective, and wonderful surprises of His presence, but we’re too afraid to untether ourselves? From offenses, from unforgiveness, from a comfort zone that ties us down. Our resistance to His leading (and we’re really good at disguising it) causes all kinds of turbulence in our Christian walk. Just what are we afraid of?
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Go ahead. Find your scissors and cut the rope. He’s been flying this thing for a long time.
(Check out Nicodemus at: https://nicodemasplusthree.wordpress.com/)
1 Corinthians 2:9 Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.