Smile Bright Balloon | God’s Peace on EarthJanuary 7, 2018 - Author: Bernadette Saddik
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, ‘God with us.'” Matthew 1:23 KJV
“And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him.” Luke 24:15-16 KJV
I admit that plodding along alone today, a frown did mark my presence. In such a countenance, I met a fellow traveler, a stranger with a smile
and a balloon.
This stranger beamed and in response, my face could only resurrect — thus was shared the profound graceful peace of spirit. The balloon the stranger gave me, I reckon, helped.
Onward I progressed, eyes held high above the pain — bright face illumined by that sweet-relief balloon — to counteract my counting ev’ry vice and virtue. Maybe life isn’t all that bad.
Or maybe, it is.
Looking up was hard enough without attending to (misconceived) notions, (misused) will, blown asunder. And without that balloon to help remember, my (misapplied) memories turned to tears that muddled through the mess.
I cleared rubble from the narrow path. Through the noise in my head, in the ruins a small card sighed nearly unheard. It reads one word, and one Word is all it needs.
~ Hope ~
Maybe life isn’t all that bad.
I held the card up to my heart and let it soak those four letters — the story of rebirth — while I dusted off, reprayed; and then I smiled (though a little smaller, it was also a lot more assured).
Encountering one who could have been me not eight long steps ago, I gathered to hold out my heart to be a strange stranger. Maybe a kindness can make a difference.
Or maybe not.
My note and heart they snatched and trampled sparked a dim internal stage:
Those tears escaped their burnt-out cage while I built myself my own, bound by the laws of man and failure.
Fallen from the shambles when a gentle hand, compelling, awed me from my body of death, I deferred to its insistence — another smiling stranger, no balloon, though no note, action spoke.
~ Mercy ~
Maybe a kindness can make a difference.
That unwavering smile and sureness of step wrote a star in the stillness of even our darkest nights, and in the silence declared all I needed to hear for my soul to learn to sing.
At the parting crossroads, we did not fully part; the stranger seemed to etch in me a soothing melody, also revealing that I still held the balloon no-longer-a-stranger close as well.
Walking on, I have been pushed and shoved, and I am sorry to say that I have done my (un)fair share too. Yet those now-familiar strangers, in God’s goodness, still appear.
I have noticed in the face of each new stranger — despite, in spite, and from their hurt and sorrow — a strange persistence of compassion, love, and joy.
But is their brightness any wonder, when martyrs join the choir, and angels praise and glory, and the Theotokos magnifies the newborn King?
The wise men and the shepherds would agree.
What blessings that the balloon, note, and song demand in me courage to nurture my feeble attempts, however faint, to follow after the model of those now-unveiled everyday messengers and saints.
“…It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order…” from Luke 1:3 KJV
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 KJV
“And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight…
And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them,
‘Peace be unto you’…and said unto them,
‘Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations…” Luke 24:31, 36, 46-47a KJV
“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:20 KJV