I watch as the big colorful hot air balloon climbs higher and higher into the firmament and I marvel at the beauty it displays in the distance. Beautiful rolling white clouds add to the backdrop to make it even more beautiful. I stand here over-looking the beautiful scenery and it’s like I’m watching a magnificent painting being painted right here before my eyes. Standing here, I’m such a coward; I would never consider riding in one of these scary contraptions. I’m proud though Matthew, my son, has nerve to go up in one, but yet, I’m apprehensive, and I fear for him. I’ve never been able to tolerate high altitudes and I don’t think I ever will be. I guess you could call me an old fuddy-duddy. He’s been talking about this trip for more than a year now and I promised him when he became a teenager, I would let him take the ride of his lifetime. Here I am, suffering because of a promise I made to him. He turned thirteen last week and he didn’t let me forget my promise. On that day, he said, “Mother, remember what you promised me some time ago … well, I want to take my balloon ride this week-end.”
I think … why, oh why, did I say I’d bring him here? I can’t go back on a promise because of the teachings I’ve raised our children with … why, did I promise him this of all things? As I stand here watching them ignite the balloon and start lifting up into the sky, I feel queasy in the pit of my stomach. I keep telling myself … it’s my nerves, don’t worry … Matthew will be okay. I can see he’s really full of excitement and he’s grinning from ear to ear and waving like he is as happy as he can be. I watch the balloon start to fade out of sight and the pains of guilt commence to overtake my being. I keep telling myself, look he’s having a marvelous time … be happy for him and don’t ruin his exuberance. I become more skeptical and fretful when I can’t see his smiles and waves anymore. I’ve got about an hour and a half on my hands and time to think about the decision I’ve made. His dad, Dave, had indicated to me this morning, he would have preferred to have gone with him on his first trip in case he got frightened but it was too late now because he couldn’t take the day off from his work. Dave lectured me this morning by saying, “You’ve got to watch what you promise people because they never forget a broken promise and you can’t go against what you’ve taught your children all their lives … it’s hypocritical … you can’t do it! Now, you have to honor your promise and the next time think before making a big promise like this.”
For some reason today, there’s this gnawing feeling bothering me about the ride as I watched him drift off into the wild blue wonder. It’s as though something in the back of my mind is warning me … you shouldn’t have made this promise to such a youngster. I’ve always taught my children their words are like treasures and they must be kept in honest and truth when they make a commitment to anyone. I’m feeling guilty for my feelings and for not discussing this important decision with Dave … the suffering I’m feeling is entirely my fault and no one else’s.
This is a beautiful park with open fields and wooded area pathways to walk and enjoy the scenery. Since I have the time on my hands, I decide to take a walk through the woods. As I enter the area, I stand to view the beauty and the creatures God gave to the world to enjoy. As I take a seat on a park bench, a rabbit sits in the distance nibbling the undergrowth … his tiny nose is twitching like he is smiling at me. His big dark eyes stare at me as though he knows I’ve made a bad mistake and it’s too late to back out. A bushy tail squirrel scurries to bury nuts and a blue bird watches over the entire scenery. I sit here trying to enjoy the beauty of the moment but I’m so troubled and my heart is heavy laden … what if something happens to my child because of this promise? Peace is not in me and my apprehensions and anxieties thrive until I catch myself prancing back and forth on the pathway, chastising myself for my mistake.
It’s like out of the blue; thunder starts to rumble in the Heavens and gusts are bending the trees here in the woods. Suddenly, I’m thinking … the winds will grab the balloon and take it off course. The gusts are clutching at my clothing and blowing my hair into the air. I become so frightened I don’t know what to do. I’ve allowed my child to go up in a balloon and he is going to have to face this terrible storm … all alone, and with no parents with him. I didn’t check the weather today. My promise haunts me severely; I’m trembling and my fear is beyond explanation. I start walking as fast as I can to make it to my car before I get caught in the storm. As I rush around the bend in the path, coming out of the woods, I see the greatest sight in the world … the balloon is coming down and landing right on its pad. It’s as though I haven’t seen Matthew in years. I’m excited as I commence running toward the balloon’s area with a great deal of happiness. Suddenly, a bolt of lightening hits the balloon. All I can see are sparks and a loud boom. My heart sinks and the scare causes to drop to the ground. I’m thinking … they all might have suffered death from the lightening bolt. I lie on the ground unable to push myself up because I’m trembling so much. I whisper, “Lord, I pray you’ll grant all of the people in the balloon well being … protect them God from all harm.”
As soon as I manage to get up, I hear Matthew’s yelling, “Mother, Mother, we’re okay the lightening hit the rail … it didn’t touch any of us … it scared the wits out of us though! Run to the car Mother before you get wet!”
I didn’t pay him any attention, I ran to him and clutched him in my arms … squeezing him and telling him, “I love you Matthew … I should have given this promise more thoughts before I made it to you. I didn’t realize the impact it would take on me as I watched you fly out of sight … it was a total nightmare for me and I’ve suffered dearly but I’m also so glad you enjoyed it. Just to think all of you could have gotten killed today!”
I grab Matthews hand, squeezing it, and saying, “All of you were very fortunate to have made it back to the pad with such terrible winds and lightening. The gust could have caught the balloon and took it off of course. I know someone Greater was with all of you out there in that balloon. He had full control as He watched over and protected all of you from harm. Son, let us have a lesson learned with this experience … let’s not make any promises we can’t live with from now on. Let’s give it some serious thoughts before making a commitment we can’t live with from now on.”