Tag Archives: journey

Ballooning Attempt #1

Not long before my trip to Canada, which I will expound on later, a friend asked me if I was afraid of heights. It seemed a strange question. I replied something along the lines of “Yes, but why do you ask?”

I was completely unprepared for her reply. She recently had a birthday, and apparently she has long wanted to fly in a hot air balloon. Yes, one of these:

What a dilemma! On one hand, great fear of heights. On the other hand… Hot Air Balloon.

I took a deep breath, explained to my fears that I wasn’t about to regret, for the rest of my life, saying “no” to a hot air balloon flight, and told my friend to count me in. It turns out that the flight was scheduled for the evening before my trip to Canada. This and a misplaced passport was the reason I had between 2 and 3 hours of sleep as I set out on my trip, but more on that anon.

The time arrived, and I drove my friend and two of her friends to the place where we would take off. Two more friends met us there, and we watched a few other balloons take off and our own prepare for flight. Ours was the largest balloon on the field that day.

That is ours in the bottom corner. The inflation of the balloon was beautiful, but as it began to rise up, some high wind blew in. For a while, we were afraid that the flight would be cancelled for safety.

But soon enough the balloon was up, and we were all told to get in! We rushed into the basket and held on. Briefly, we were about two feet off the ground.

And that was it. The pilot made his final checks and found that the high wind had bent an important piece of equipment. I guess we were special, as the pilot told us that he had only had that particular problem once before, when he was flying in Africa. The flight was cancelled.

We all got out, and watched as the balloon deflated.

Our pilot was more dejected than any of us, as shown in the photo below. He is the one lying on the folded balloon. Not to say that we were not disappointed, but we enjoyed seeing all the balloons and having some entertaining conversations. We made plans, then and there, to try again in early September, which fast approaches. Hopefully I will ride in a hot air balloon yet, and to heck with my acrophobia! Anyway, I enjoyed getting to meet some new people, and my friend and another of her friends and I went for dinner at a local restaurant. All was well. Until I got home and couldn’t find my passport.

Photo by Jubilare


To the rain on my soul

Redbud with Drops
Photo by Jubilare

The drought that was June has been broken by rain. My home is greening, the trees can drink, and there are beads, brighter than silver, on the leaves.

I am grateful.

Waterpearl
photo by Jubilare

The day before yesterday, without visible reason or explanation, a drought in my soul was quenched as well.  I was doing a job for which I have no fondness and listening to music that I have heard many times before. As I wiped coal-dust from the 1800’s off fragile pages, I realized that my soul was singing and I did not know why. It certainly had nothing to do with the bitter estate-dispute I was cleaning.

I have been praying. For a while, my mind being what it is, I had found it difficult to pray, but in the past few weeks I have pushed on and forced myself to do it. In order to focus, which is difficult for me, I write most of my prayers out. I look at them now, and most are short little nothings, like touching base with a family-member in passing. A complaint here, a thank-you there, a rant or a statement of love. There are many requests for rain, both literal and metaphorical. They are the bare minimum.

Apparently God is willing to answer even small and pathetic attempts to seek Him. For that I am grateful. It is easy to take up the false assumption that only truly great and faithful people are answered by God. Jesus, of course, shows us differently by his behavior, but the false assumption still crops up like a weed to strangle and discourage us from making any effort. “What is the point of doing anything,” I ask myself, “if I can’t do anything worth doing?” “Why pray if I have nothing to say? Why try if I expect to fail?”

But He has placed the answer in my soul, and my soul sings it to me without words. I am unfaithful, and yet He does not abandon me. He seems to value even my attempts at fidelity.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love! Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it…”  There are many lines in that hymn that speak to me at this time, but that one is the loudest.

My mother recently said, quite rightly in my experience, that spiritual things come in waves. Others have described mountains and valleys. It is clear, though, that walking with God is anything but monotonous.

I will continue to strive for my soul’s desire.  I know that I will stumble, wander off, get lost and get hurt, though I will try not to fail. I know, also, that I will never be abandoned.  As always, I feel that words fail to do justice to what I mean, but at least language allows me to release some of this fullness in praise.

“Here I raise my ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”

Water Chain
Photo by Jubilare


Thanks

Thank You, Lord, for the rough country; for the times when my path is a struggle. Thank You for the blisters, bruised heel, and scrapes from my falls. Thank You for the travelers, of all kinds, around me. Thank You for enough food and water to live, but not so much that I forget to be glad of it.

Thank You for the still times, the easy walks after a hard climb, and the places that call me to rest, but never for long. I, like Frost, have miles to go before I sleep.

Thank You for letting me break, like shale dropping from a height. I thought it was me that would shatter, but I did not see the prison I had built around myself. Prison-breaking is painful, but until I was out, I never knew that Joy meant anything more than happiness. I did not know that Joy defies all circumstances and emotions. I did not know that it is transcendent. Strange, how You let us use the most simple words to describe things that we only begin to understand. Thank You for that as well, else how few words I would have!

Thank You for turning me out of myself, and for Your patience in doing so again and again, as I forget the lessons I have learned so many times. That is one reason for the rough of the road, perhaps. It makes me stumble, and reminds me where my eyes should be. You have more patience with me than I have with myself. Thank You.

Thank You, Yeshua, for the mysteries; the seeming-paradoxes that make us alive rather than existent. Thank you for Life. And most of all, thanks for Your presence on the road with me.


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