Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Balloons and Life

My balloon came down today.

It’s been 18 days since I returned home from India. When I arrived at LAX, I was greeted by a small group of friends and family who welcomed me home with hugs, signs, flower leis and balloons.

Upon getting back to my home, one of the balloons – a blue star – escaped from the rest of the bunch and made a break for freedom. It only got as far as to the top corner of our front room ceiling, however. Our house has vaulted ceilings and the one in the front room is the highest in our entire home, around 20 feet high. So I decided to leave the individualistic-minded balloon alone until it decided to come back down to earth, so-to-speak. I figured that a few days alone would be enough for it, but it had more helium-willpower than I had anticipated, staying nestled smugly aloft for nearly 18 days. Today, somewhat deflated and seemingly dejected, it came down. It's funny that, as long as it stayed up, I didn't give it much thought, but as soon as it came down, everyone noticed it.

So it got me thinking... "What do you do when your balloon comes down?" You see, in our lives there are times of elation and celebration. There are times of victory and big wins. There are times of extreme joy and being on cloud nine. There are times when everything goes great. But after every mountain top there tends to be a valley. So, what do you do when your balloon comes back down to earth?

For the person in sales, it may be the high of closing on a big account and then going into a dry spell of failing to get new accounts. For the medical worker, it may be the elation of saving a life, seeing them recover only to then lose another person the very same week. For the parent, it could be the joy of having children transform into the challenge of dealing with the teenage years. It could be relational. It could be emotional. It could be physical. It could be job-related. However, It’s always personal. Life oftentimes seems like the slogan to ABC’s old series Wide-World of Sports...“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

So what can we do when the balloons of our lives come crashing back down to earth? Here are a few important reminders -- that will help getting through those "down" times...

1) Realize that Life is Seasonal.
Sometimes we are up, sometimes down. Life has seasons. “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. There is no getting away from the seasons. We just need to recognize them for what they are. The rains of the autumn and winter bring the abundant beauty of the spring.

2) Understand that Tough Times Don’t Last.
Someone said, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” Bumper stickers aside, things DO happen in life. They happen to good people and they happen to bad people. As long as we live in this broken world, we will have to deal with its offspring. But the Bible offers us the hope of a brighter tomorrow; “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5). The good news is that tough times, though they be a reality, are only momentary (see 2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

3) Through it All, God is With You.
One of the great titles of Jesus, in the Bible, is Emmanuel. That literally means; “God is with us.” What a comforting thought – to know that God IS with us. When we are up or when we are down, God is with us. When we feel good or feel bad, God is with us. When things are going great or when things are seemingly going nowhere, God is with us. He has given us His unbreakable promise that he would be with us always (Matthew 28:20).

Jesus loves us. He cares for us and He cares about us. That is why we should always look to Him. The Bible assures that if we keep trusting in the Lord, we won't be disappointed.

So when your balloon comes down, realize it’s seasonal, understand that it won’t last, and know that God is with you at all times. Be encouraged today. Another flight is on its way.

Yes, my balloon came down today.
But I’m not just a one-balloon life.

Neither are you.


Karlene said...

Thanks...I needed that! -K

Caesar Jr said...

AMEN! God told you to speak to me, didn't He? :)