Do I have any red balloons?

It started a couple of weeks ago and I knew that I was in trouble.  A change was required immediately.  My faithful friend was failing.  Sometimes I thought that it was asleep or maybe even dead.  But, then it would wake up and surprise me.  And, then, it died right in the middle of an important call.  It was time to get a new phone!

This morning, we went to the AT&T store and bought a new one.  As “the guy” was setting things up, I asked him if I could trade in my old one.  He looked it over and deducted $40 from our bill.  I didn’t even blink.  I turned in my old phone for cash; I wasn’t emotional at all. 

The transaction reminded me of when, earlier this fall, we traded in the Explorer (with over 200,000 miles) for a “new to us” vehicle. The Explorer had taken us all over the nation and had served us well.  As we turned in the keys, I expected to feel something.  I tried to drum up a little emotion, but I didn’t cry a single tear.  

Have I become calloused?  Has my heart hardened??  Don’t I care anymore???

Several years ago, I was driving the Explorer with one of the girls seated in the back seat.  She was holding on to a red balloon that was left over from a family party the night before.  There were still more red balloons in the package, ready to be blown up. 

As we drove down the road, she spent about an hour batting that balloon all over the back seat.  And then, she asked if I would roll down the windows so that she could feel the breeze.  I warned her to hold on to the balloon and I lowered the glass panes.  Then, the inevitable happened, the balloon went flying out of the window and the tears started flowing.  She didn’t cry out loud, but her tears rolled so quickly that soon her shirt was soaked. 

I stopped the car; I told her that it was sad to lose the balloon, but that we could blow up another one. It was then that I heard her say that hated phrase, “But, I wanted that one!!!”  And, then the wailing began.  It was sad and pitiful.

I liked my phone.  I enjoyed the old vehicle.  I’m an adult – I don’t care about things!!  I have no “red balloons” in my world.  Oh, wait, maybe I do. 

        Don’t touch that last French fry on my plate – the crispy one that I have been red-balloonsaving!!

        Say disparaging things about my football team and you are toast.

        If one of my favorite pens disappears again, I am searching everyone in this room.

        Put down the remote!!!

The next time we are mopping up a kid’s tears because of a lost, precious balloon, it might be good to think about our own “precious” things.  I may have more important “stuff” than I will admit!   Maybe before I start the holiday “gathering together”, I need to clear out and clean up some of my attitudes!! 

++++

The book of James seems to scream “listen up” to me.  Maybe it might make sense to you.

(James 4:1-5) “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.

“You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

“You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that ‘he’s a fiercely jealous lover.’ And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that ‘God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.’”

 

 

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