My daughter let me be her sidekick today. We broke out the environmentally friendly bag of balloons. She chose a purple one. We found her hat with the poof on top. I secured her balloon and she wanted to make extra sure that her string wouldn’t fly off her wrist so we tied it on and she clutched tightly to the string. She had heard about my “runaway balloon.” We set off down the Vantage Point hill around 2:30 p.m. It was a brilliant day after Christmas and over 50 degrees. In the sun, it felt like 60 and the joggers and walkers seemed to be loving it.
Once on the perch, I talked about the different angles of waving. I shared about waving at cars at a distance, assuring her that they could likely see us even if we couldn’t see them. I talked about each person in the car being an imporant person. I let her know that not everybody would wave, but asked her to notice what it was like when people did wave. We talked about the reasons why somebody might not wave. She offered, “Because they have somewhere they need to go fast and need to not get distracted” as one possibility.
We made up a “rainbow wave” together–arcing our hands from the left to the right–with each motion saying a different color of the rainbow with each arc: “red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple!” What fun it was when my daughter got to wave at other children.
I don’t anticipate that my daughter will be out with me often, but this was a rare treat on a balmy day. I’ve come to understand that she is a major reason I’m being led on this call to joy. I want there to be signs of joy for children in my community. I’m grateful to her for sharing some of her joy today.
Toward the end of our time, I saw the gentleman who has twice given me the middle finger. I saw him see my daughter. I think I perceived two different things register: annoyance that she was there (something like, “Seriously?”) and a decision not to flip us off. Thank you for not doing so.
When I asked my daughter what she liked about the corner: “Everything.”
Today I shared with my church what I have been up to in these last weeks. I donned my hat and told them about the long months of resistance and then the yes! of making my way to the corner to wave. It was phenomenal to connect with folks after worship to hear about how they are being tugged toward joy. This congregation certainly is a huge part of my inspiration to put myself out there. Thank you to all who shared their love and for the hospitality they offer all.
Also, we were particularly blessed at the end of worship when one of the Cold Weather Shelter participants asked to share a little bit and offer thanks to the church for hosting. It has been a big week with so many in the KC community and Beth Shalom pitching in to make meals, offer hospitality, entertain, host, and do laundry.
From our barn to your heart– Stay tuned!
Day 3 of Balloon Pastoring was spent…at home.
My child was sick today. Although he wasn’t well enough to go to school, he felt sparky by mid-morning. He was patient with me as he munched his wheat cereal and tried to build a big firehouse out of magnet tiles. I don’t take for granted the opportunity to stay home with my sick child. I give thanks for those at my work who were flexible with me today. I lift up those with sick children who had to bear the way to a job and drive today.
I’ve certainly hoped that balloon pastoring would help provide an opportunity to center in the midst of all the other things going on in my life. You no doubt have countless things on your plate, too. I love serving a faith community and connecting with people. I love being a mom and partner and spending time with my family. And, I love the newfound spiritual practice of getting a window into people’s busy lives and days by waving with my balloon.
It’s never going to be a perfect balance of all of my hats. Today, my mom hat meant a stay indoors, but my thoughts are with all of those traversing the long corridor home on commute. I send out light and love south of here to the cross section of Vantage Point and Little Patuxent. With the mess and chaos of my life in this hectic season, I pray peace that ripple from this neighborhood…and from the drawing board where my son and I did a little artwork.