Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sunday morning I walked through the outer garage door and saw a balloon dragging a long ribbon resting against the car in my driveway. The first thought entering my mind was someone’s trash had come into my yard. The second thought, as I took the ribbon in hand, was to move it away from the car so that the balloon could find its way into my neighbor’s yard and out of my zone of irritation. I let go of the ribbon and expected the balloon to fly away but it did not move. “Well,” I said, “the ribbon is holding you back.”

This balloon that had found its resting point in my space was expensive, one of those $2.98 balloons from Party City or Balloon Heaven or some place like that. Its’ translucent white skin was decorated with fancy white hearts; I’m saying that this trash had been the guest of honor at someone’s baby shower or wedding. Looking at the long pink ribbon I counted to be six feet long you can see knots where other balloons had been tied before. For some reason this balloon had not enjoyed the unknown fate of the others who had been bound to this same ribbon. Perhaps if the other balloons were still together, they would have been better able to carry the weight of the ribbon between the three of them but as it was, all the weight was left for this one lost guest of honor to carry…and it was too much.

Still irritated, I remembered the knife in my pocket and walked back to the balloon, cut the long pink ribbon at five feet and 9 inches, and then I just let the guest of honor “go.” I watched as the balloon, now much stronger and able to carry the lesser weight, lift up into the air at an angle, rising slowly but steadily. As I backed out of the garage with the family in the truck, I looked again and checked the new heights being reached. Having risen much higher now and having cleared the trees and power lines it was headed south as it reached for higher air.

Why didn’t I grab a Mark’s-a-lot® and write a message of hope for the next person to find the balloon to read? I wondered. But I have come to realize that sometimes not all messages are written out in succinct form nor appear in a form that I am expecting.

Why did I put the knife in my pocket that morning? Would there be some boxes to open at church…no I don’t think so.

Was the knife a tool waiting to be used at just the right time? Does a tool become a tool by nature or is it in the using of the intended nature that makes it a tool?

Why was I so quick to try to let the trash find itself in someone else’s yard? Was it from the late nights of the weekend irritation that blurred my senses?

What if I carried my tools with me everyday so that when its purpose was needed it would not inflict harm but instead lessen the burden that was not intended to be carried alone? Would that make a difference in my life by clearing out my yard or would the difference benefit someone besides me?

I wonder about that…

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