Brad Leach, oops, Roulf Burrell (his announced pen name from his prior post) is back today with a thought-provoking post. Read on.
When our children were young, my wife and I occasionally took them out to the Red Robin restaurant to eat. The kids loved the TV in the floor, the large mascot “bird” that went around giving hugs to little ones, and the ice cream shakes. Mom loved the break from cooking. I wondered why they added the word “Red” to the name Robin - is there any other color robins come in? Would “Orange Robin” work for marketing? Is “Red Robin” actually a tautology, like a freshwater “bone fish”? Would we have been better off eating there?
As we were leaving, my youngest daughter (who also happens to be my oldest daughter since I have only one), asked for a balloon. Of course, the staff was happy to oblige. So she picked out a nice red one that seemed to be busy doing push-ups off the drop-tiled ceiling with the help of a nearby paddle fan while jostling other balloons that tried to crowd around to watch. I was considering the social structure of balloons in groups, which I’m sure some university has taken tax dollars to study. What do you call a balloon group, a clutch, a bundle, a stretch? Anyway, this obvious “Alpha” balloon was pulled down and slip-noosed to my daughter’s wrist.
Now one problem with any small child having a balloon is the dirigibles' fragile nature. Balloons, especially helium balloons, are mercurial and prone to wander if they don’t choose to vanish entirely. I personally think they fancy themselves as one of the “noble gases.” They find nitrogen and oxygen plebeian and feel they should always be above them. My wife simply says it’s because they are full of themselves. Regardless, they have a short life when clutched in the hands of any young child who almost always manifests a primal urge to jerk on the ribbon.
My four-year old’s balloon slipped her wrist in moments and was rising faster than a Taylor Swift love song on the teenage pop charts. Tears followed. How can a little girl become so attached to a red spheroid so fast when it took her months to bond with me? They were strangers a minute ago! Do I lack the charisma of a common balloon?... I withdraw the question. Anyway, as the “Helium Houdini” escaped into the ether, and wanting to avoid a scene, I nonchalantly complimented my daughter on her generosity and willingness to share. Confused, she looked at me for an explanation.
I explained that the balloon was heading up towards heaven, going as fast as it can. That when Jesus was down here as a little boy, they didn’t have Red Robins and helium balloons, so He never had a balloon to play with. “But now you shared your balloon with Him. See, it’s going up into the clouds; up into heaven. I think He’s very pleased that you are willing to let your balloon go up and see him. To play and tell Him all about you.” We said a little prayer and watched the balloon until it was out of sight.
I think of that incident when I hear another author has sent off his or her story. They’ve filled a package with all the life they can breathe into it, tied it with a ribbon, then let it go. A story is like that balloon, if you will, and we all watch to see if it rises – or bursts. As it floats out of the author’s sight, I know hopes and prayers go with it. And sometimes, a few tears. A Christian writer hopes to share something of themselves with others. They hope their story creates some noble moment, rising to great heights. Most of all, they release it to Jesus, watching it rise on childlike faith. Hoping it tells Jesus all about them; that it pleases Him.
~Brad, now writing as Roulf