Let Go of the Balloon
"The sacrament of the present moment...to live as light as a feather, fluid as water, innocent as a child, responding to every moment of grace like a floating balloon." (Jean-Pierre de Caussade)
I've been talking a lot lately about what a soul is, and how to take care of your soul. I think it's interesting -- and counter-cultural -- that you will never find the words "soul" and "hurry" in the same Bible verse. The writers of Scripture never say, "Quit loafing around and get back to work, O my soul!"
The other day I tweeted something that got a ton of traction. I said, "Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap!" We can laugh about that, but there's something to it. Sleep is sometimes a signal of how much I trust the Creator of the universe to take care of things. If my will, my mind, and my body are inert, someone else is running the stuff. Also, I'm a better dad, a better writer, a better friend when I get enough rest.
But I don't rest enough. Instead, I live like Atlas. Remember that guy from your Greek mythology class? He carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Literally. Look at yourself. Look at the people around you. Look at the face, and you'll see someone who looks like they're carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.
What would happen if you just let it go? And why do you think you have to carry it all around by yourself anyway? I think what's often at stake here is my personal sense of worth. I want to prove to people that I'm worthwhile because look at how much of the world I can carry -- or look how long I can hold it up. I believe that the worth of my soul is dependent upon how much weight I can carry for how long.
I remember traveling with a guy named Ken. He was a kind of mentor for me for a long time. I watched him speak to a group of very important (read: wealthy) people once, and I know how I would have been when I was done. I would have been a bundle of anxiety. How did that go? Do you think they liked it? Did I impress them with my wit and wisdom?
If I thought it went well -- or if I could find someone to reassure me that it did -- I would feel good about myself. If not, I would berate myself for the foreseeable future. How could I have blown such a big opportunity?
But Ken finished his talk and I watched him walk out to the car. He just shuffled along whistling some song. I realized that Ken just talks to try to help people, and then he lets it go. It was like watching a child with a helium balloon.
What would your life be like if you could do that? You give a presentation at work. You don't have to worry about what people thought. You just have to try your best to give them helpful information, and then let it go.
You wonder about aging.
About your spouse.
About a child.
How is this going?
You could just do your best to be helpful in the moment, and then let it go. That's how you were meant to live.
Jesus makes you and me a promise. He says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Can you imagine living with that kind of freedom? I can. At least I'm beginning to.
Photo Credit: Tatiana Nino