When I was a little girl, I loved balloons. It made me very sad to lose or have to pop one; I hated to let go, feeling as if I were hurting the poor balloon’s feelings. It was like losing a good friend.
I remember distinctly one time in which I was in a parade and a boy had given me an orange balloon. I carried it proudly with the sign for my group. But then, somehow, as we started to walk, the string slipped from my fingers and the orange ball of delight went up, up, up into the wide, grey sky. I tried to catch it, yelling out as I did, but it was in vain. My poor balloon was gone for good.
Over ten years later, I sit out on the deck with a cool summer breeze passing off my shoulders, pondering life’s memories, both good and bad. I’ll be nineteen in August and as I enter into adulthood, I can grin, giggle, and grimace at the paths left behind.
Since that childhood incident, I’ve lost many other “balloons.” Sometimes I meant to. Sometimes I didn’t. In either case, the pain was sharp and sure enough, I tried to get it back, just like that day at the parade.
One thing I know, among many things that I don’t, is that no matter what it is you’re losing, letting go of something or someone hurts.
There are dreams I’ve left aside. Relationships and hopes for people and trust broken. Love I’ve wanted, but could not get; loves that I must leave aside. Ideals and rules I thought were proper and which made me feel right, but really weren’t. Bad things I’ve done and poor decisions I’ve made which bring me shame. People who hurt me, but who I loved all the same. And just like that balloon, I let go of them physically and tried to get rid of them emotionally.
But it was hard. It remains difficult. It always will be.
Yet as a Christian, I believe in grace and redemption. I know that I must not condemn myself for sins forgiven by Jesus any longer. I know that God has plans and dreams for us that are bigger than our own. Sometimes, I believe, we are even called to let go. Often, it is best.
But as we let go, let us grab hold of another thing and anchor it to our self firmly.
Let go of anger and malice for love. Throw away regret for renewed hope. Forget about shame and remember grace. Take off evil and put on righteousness.
At the end of the day of my parade, my mom pointed out a tiny orange dot far up in the sky.
“I think that’s your balloon!” she said. “It looks nice up in the sky.”
And suddenly, I wasn’t sad anymore. I’d decorated the sky and made it pretty for the parade. I’d let go and given something good in return.