I’ve never ridden in a hot air balloon, but something about it draws my interest.  Maybe it’s that mixture of peaceful, free-floating, nothing in the world can quite get to you, combined with scary, whew-it’s-really-high-up-here-and-what-was-I-thinking-and-what-if something-goes-awry feelings.  It’s a mixture of peace and total anxiety.  Hmmm…seems like a recurring theme for me.

I’m not unfamiliar with that sense of floating along, wondering where to build a new foundation, how to put some structure back into life, or gain a sense of connection.  Sometimes it feels good to be a-drift, rather freeing.  Other times, it feels oddly like I’m cast about on the winds of life with no particular place to go and no purpose.  The part of me that likes to explore options, take risks and imagine standing on the mountain tops finally winning the race, loves this feeling.  Up, up and away seems like a beautiful thing.  I like to defy gravity a little and see myself in places I might never have tried if I just kept my feet tied securely to the pavement.  Yes, that floating idea seems like a good thing.

But then, reality comes knocking because the rubber meets the road and I have to get grounded again.  After all, there are “normal” ways of doing things.  One can’t simply treat life like a hot air balloon ride, can they?  I mean there are bills to pay and responsibilities and conditions and threats and things to deal with like aging and illness and the glass half empty stuff.  One can’t just ride along on the breeze and leave all that behind, right?

So where’s the place for dreamers and realists to meet?  Where’s the intersection of go after all the meaningful things in your heart, or stay home, stay grounded, and be sensible?  These are the questions that keep me riding life like a giant roller coaster.  My sister says I invite the ride because I’d be bored with things if they were simply mundane, predictable, or like a marriage that never has a “Date Night.”

She’s right, of course.  Though it’s always scary to be riding in the balloon, way up high, not sure where I’m going, there’s some odd sense of peace about it too.  Something in me just wants to be brave enough to look out on the landscape and be like a little bird rising above the difficult things and seeing the bigger picture.  I love a panoramic view even though deep down I have a mild fear of heights.

I suspect this scenario is one I should simply just accept because the risk and rewards of life are seductive forces and balancing my faith with my fears, my talents with my troubles, my fantasy with my fiction just seems to be a part of it all.  For those of you who are always grounded, I say, “thanks” because I need to  have people like you to come back to after I’ve floated just a bit further than I intended.  For those of you who are up in the air in your own hot air balloon, I say, “Bravo” and thanks for giving me a lift and keeping me poised for the next adventure.

It’s a big world.  Please wave if you see me floating over your neighborhood.  It’s always good to stay connected.  Perhaps the best thing we can hope for is to be grounded in what we all have together, what we each bring to the family.  That seems like a worthy idea to me.  The best we can hope for then is to make our Father proud.

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