I popped a balloon two days ago.
It wasn’t just any balloon, where pressure would release the captured air. No – it was a confetti balloon. I’m afraid I may have forgotten what happens when you pop a balloon, let alone a confetti one. Down went the pressure, and out burst hundreds of itty bitty confetti stars. It was an anger triggered move. Pressure built up and down went that pressure, onto a harmless little balloon.
The most frustrating part was the clean up. My first method was the vacuum. It seemed at first things were cleaned up. But the more I looked, the more I kept seeing. So I tried using the nozzle of the vacuum. Great – it was doing what it was supposed to do. But the more I looked, the more I kept seeing. Finally, along came a hand vacuum. It was surprising how powerful this little thing seemed to work. Huffing and puffing, I bent over and zoomed at every little star in sight. But the more I looked, the more I kept seeing. I would suck some up, then whirl around and see some more somewhere else. Then I started mopping the floor. And I’d see more stars. There I go again, zooming in on them with my evil little hand vacuum. Throwing it onto the couch after doing the subsequent sucking up of the star(s) that lay in my sight.
Believe me when I say I was trying everything in me not to physically scream “F*** YOU, AND YOU, AND YOU!” but also believe me when I say I was screaming it just as loudly in my head.
it takes a lot to get a balloon to pop.
and the clean up? the clean up is even worse.
It takes a lot to get a balloon to pop. Maybe things just seemed stuffed for so long and finally needed to come out, in some way. That’s what happens sometimes when you’re in emotional overload — whether that’s the good or the bad, or both. When you’re used to stuffing but this time you just had to apply pressure because you’ve felt the pressure of it all for too long. People pop balloons for different reasons, but they all do it. For me, the work/life balance is always a hard thing to navigate as an adult, without even the fact that you’re living it out at home. You do the things you would have done at school — all the classes, the extracurriculars, the church events. Yet your feet are implanted not at school but at home. It’s always a whirlwind in all sorts of directions. Time is a precious thing and sometimes you feel victorious and other times you just lose track. You cherish the time and the season, the God-given time it’s allowed as a family where we otherwise wouldn’t have had. At the same time, you know you could be doing better. You also miss and grieve the nature of this season. And maybe dad was right – we always have an evil self-centered creature in each of us, wanting love, care, and attention for even just the space that we take up in this place called home. I think we can all get better at giving and receiving that kind of love – knowing and not knowing how to do it well but doing it anyways. Sometimes you sadly can’t really do that well before doing the gritty work of clean up.
Now for the clean up.
The clean up is hard because it means you lost it. You made a mistake, and now you’re realizing it because you’re bent over trying to get rid of all the traces of damage your poor choice made. Maybe the action was justified — it was done out of anger — but the choice and consequences are detrimental all the same. The clean up is frustrating because it’s plain exhausting and it’s been years by now. Bending down, swooping up, thinking it’s gone but then you whirl around and you see them — again. And sometimes you just want it to be done and you hate the process of it.
This was not the first time this happened.
There have been lots of balloon popping in my life. And honestly by now, maybe I’ve conditioned myself towards it. I’ve conditioned myself that every time a balloon pops, there is a clean up. Sometimes the clean up is more thorough, other times the clean up involves a mere sweep of a broom after the initial pop.
I’ve conditioned myself. I’ve conditioned myself knowing that balloon popping probably won’t stop — not anytime soon at least. In fact, I don’t think they ever will. And I’m scared of the thought of reconditioning. So I get lazy and complacent over changing the cycle because that’s what it feels like — a cycle. Where the initial puncture of a pop would send me in a frightened startle, it’s happened so often that I’m not so sensitized by it… but also sensitized at the same time. But inaction is the same as doing nothing, and we all know how that ends.
So now we come to today. One balloon popped because of another’s balloon popped. That happens sometimes. And we’re trying to change the cycle. It’s hard and painful and not fun.
In the middle of all of this though, I remember Jesus. It all goes back to Him.
Jesus rescued every f***ing little star and loves us anyway. Unlike us, rescuing the stars was an obedience that He didn’t do from duty but of delight. He faithfully and lovingly persisted, even for the most stubborn of stars.
I read something from my friend Strahan Coleman recently that struck me as so profound — that Christ rose with wounds. It went on to say:
We can be encouraged to know that aching from the past doesn’t mean newness hasn’t come… someday our wounds will be fully healed, leaving beautiful scars that remind us of our storied lives. But until then, the presence of our wounds doesn’t negate the resurrection we’re experiencing.– Strahan Coleman
My God my joy, my delight, my God my joy, my delight