Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!


The other day, I was trying to defuse the potential for one of my famous temper outbursts. Someone very close to me described my temper as such: "You take a LOT and say nothing, but it's kind of like blowing up a balloon that gets too full and then all of a sudden, someone lets go of it. You go zipping around the room, going "Pttffffftttthhhhhh," this way and that, banging into everything, and then all of a sudden you are out of air and you fall to the ground, limp and exhausted. Then you sort of lie there, dead. Then you look up and go, "What's everyone lookin' at?" That is pretty much how your temper works."

I've thought about how the image of the balloon works into our resentment and anger. There's a point where I have to stop and tie a knot in the balloon and let no more air inside. When we people of the "helping professions," or "caregivers," and we fail to find something that ties that knot, we overextend, and are at risk of shooting across the room. I am coming to realize that is part of where the act of prayer is a "space creator" for me. To stop, take time to pray for the intentions of others that I cannot take on at the moment, or to chant one of the chants from my monastic breviary seems to stretch the neck of my balloon to the point I can at least get a knot tied in it.

But even then, the work is not finished with the knot in place. That balloon is in danger of being carried by the wind to a dangerous place, like a sharp tree limb, and then, POP! Irreparable damage. It feels good to be free floating out there, and has the false sense of "movement" but the potential to take us to places that are not good for us, and we are filled with just enough of our own hot air that it seems "perfect."

I have come to realize there has to be a string on my balloon, to tether me. Too long a string, and the extrovert half of me dances around and bounces too much. Too short a string, and the introvert half of me pulls me in too close, withdrawing to the point I no longer feel the breeze. This string needs an adjustment depending on the wind. That is where the "connection" part of my prayer life comes into play. I have to be carried to the point where I can feel the "tug" back to earth.

The string itself is the act of discipline in prayer for me. To feel the connection to the ground each day. If I don't feel the connection, I can feel "set adrift", or filled with false adventure that can become dangerous, like a dog suddenly off his chain who knows nothing about cars, chained near the highway. I could simply "burst free" and, in that split second, be smashed by the oncoming car that I did not even see.

It's interesting that a single act of prayer represents "space", "connection" and "discipline" all at once in my life. If that can control my temper to some degree, what other things does prayer control in our lives that we sometimes find ourselves powerless?

I thought about how a loose balloon looks "endangered" and a perfectly tethered one looks so "free", dancing in the wind, weaving and bobbing with energy and purpose. It's an interesting paradox, isn't it?

3 comments:

It's interesting that a single act of prayer represents "space", "connection" and "discipline" all at once in my life. If that can control my temper to some degree, what other things does prayer control in our lives that we sometimes find ourselves powerless?¨ K

In my life I say ¨HELP¨ (in my head to God) and then I immediately start to relax and notice that I can, in fact, find my way better...I also ¨take quite a lot¨ (while attempting to consider the integrity/place-in-life of the source and the logic of the sources)...but, as most people know that know me face to face, I have NO TROUBLE saying no...if that is not understood I get MORE direct (have been known to get confrontational and Missouri Mulelike)...but, my line, or connection, to sane safe ¨being¨ is asking God for HELP when I need it (especially) and then shutting up...often I forget the ¨lesson¨ isn´t always about me (even if I am included in the scenario).

Abrazos to you this beautiful day in America Central,

Leonardo

What a wonderfully simple and richly evocative image!
With all the shouting and schism over who lives the truth of God’s Kingdom, your tethered balloon gives us all pause. Thank you for reminding me that I belong to Christ’s truth as I am where I am. His truth does not belong to me to create a new kingdom of my own imaginings.

Completely enjoyed the image and can relate to the overblown balloon! Glad your tethered balloon drifted in this direction tonight- refreshing.

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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