Rise Above
Joe Clark ~~ Jun 28, 2002

A man gazes silently as the hot air balloon slowly takes shape. It seems at first a slow, arduous process, full of loud noises and hot gases. But suddenly the last long flash of light propels the balloon upright -- timidly at first, but then with increasing grace and beauty. The man is reminded of a baby's first steps.

Soon another long flash of hot gas, and the balloon majestically begins to float, rising slowly at first, then gaining altitude with each gasp of raw fuel. The balloon soon is soaring high above the ground, the trees, and all the other surface realities of the world.

All at once the man finds these words echoing through his soul: "I want to be there!!" It's as if the balloon were an allegory of his life. Time after time, the trials have come as great clouds of fire, and at first the fragile fabric of his life was in danger of being incinerated. But slowly, slowly, the trials were building a stronger, more air-worthy man. Even now, the man is reminded of the fires of life that always seem so near.

But at this time, in this moment, the man bursts out in an emphatic voice, "I want to be there!! I want to rise on the wings of the air, flying like the eagle so high, so free. I want to reach for the heavens, the presence of the Holy One. I want the freedom and the ecstasy of leaving the pains of earth below. I want to rise above the plane of earthly perspective and see the bigger picture. I have felt the trials of fire in my life, and I long for liftoff!!"

As the man watches the balloon float slowly but steadily away, and as he then turns to go, he is satisfied. He has watched a valuable allegory unfold before his eyes. He resolves then and there to do his best to rise above the clamor of his life. He feels the fears distinctly, the fear that he cannot lift off, and the fear that he will begin his flight only to crash down to the earth again. But the promise of rising above and the hope that it brings helps still the fears and bolster his determination.

Fly, o brave man. Soar on wings of faith, and leave behind the tethers of the past and the plane of earthly perspective.