She loved balloons. She loved everything about them. All their different shapes. All their different sizes. All their different colors. Balloons made her happy.
She started collecting balloons from the time she was little. She loved how they bounced and floated around her. She fully enjoyed touching them and blowing softly at them and watching as they would respond.
The more balloons she collected, the more balloons she discovered. There were balloons that could be shaped into almost anything you could imagine; very easily manipulated. There were those filled with helium that flew high up into the sky; in and out of her life quickly; virtually untouchable. There were shiny, fancy ones that made a different kind of crinkly noise when they moved, almost mocking the other balloons around them. And then there were the lead balloons that just sat there, never flying, and were no fun at all.
But her very favorite kind were the ordinary balloons. The ones that stayed close and brought her great joy just by their presence and color and floatiness. She loved balloons. And so she collected more and more and more of them. Some came to her already full of air and life. Some, she got to pour life and breath into, and watch them take on shape.
One day she heard a loud bang. She looked with dread to see that one of her balloons had hit a sharp object and popped. She held the limp piece of rubber that was once her precious balloon in her hand. And she wept.
In the days following, she vowed she would never again let one of her balloons touch the ground or come in contact with anything that could hurt or destroy it. And so she spent her days keeping all her balloons in the air in whatever way she could. Sometimes she would blow gently beneath them. Sometimes she would hold them in her arms. Often she would bounce them with her hands to keep several balloons up at the same time. But there were so many balloons. How could she ever keep all of them up in the air?
And so she ran from balloon, to balloon, to balloon, doing whatever she could to keep them afloat. Suddenly, balloons weren’t fun any more. They were hard work and she was exhausted. She didn’t have time to admire their lovely colors any more. She was so busy trying to protect them, that she no longer saw their unique shapes and sizes. In fact, she was so overwhelmed, there was nothing that she could see straight.
And then it happened. One of the smaller balloons slipped from her gentle grasp and, as if in slow motion, floated toward the ground. Her hands were so full that she couldn’t reach it in time. And she looked in horror as it lit on the ground. A soft bounce. No popping sound. No loud bang. The balloon was okay.
She let out a relieved sigh. And with that sigh she once again found her smile. Her smile that came with enjoying balloons. With seeing them as celebrations. She threw her open arms up into the air and watched her thousands of balloons as they cascaded around her, bumping each other, making her giggle and stand in awe of their beauty. Inevitably, each one of them would touch ground at some point, and that was okay. Some would even pop. Her job was not to suspend the balloons, but to interact and enjoy them as she touched them and they touched her. To be gentle with them and to treat them with great care, but not to rob them of the joy of truly being balloons, free to float and bounce and sometimes touch the ground.
And once again, she loved balloons….