Red Balloons and Christmas Balls

Don’t you love the harmonies God creates in life? He specializes in what people often call coincidences but are really connections that surprise us, make us think, let us glimpse him at work behind the scenes.

    Our last Northwest Christian Writer’s Association meeting seemed full of these delightful connections, as several speakers, none of whom knew what the others planned to talk about, zeroed in on the same ideas. The presenters approached their topics from different directions, with different emphases, yet the meeting had a cohesiveness that would have been hard to plan. Here’s an example:

    Monique led off the meeting with a talk entitled, “The Red Balloon.” She told about walking with her friend and a five-year-old who was carrying a bunch of colorful balloons. Suddenly the only red balloon escaped and floated away. “My red balloon!” the child wailed. In vain, her mother showed her she still had lots of pretty balloons. She sobbed, “But red is my favorite.”

    We’re frequently like that little girl, Monique pointed out. Though God gives us so much to enjoy, we focus on our “red balloons” and if we lose them, we grieve, never seeing the good things all around us.

    Next to speak was Leslie Ann, with a “rubbish writing” exercise to help authors overcome the dreaded “brain freeze”…caused not by cold ice cream, but by the freeze-up of the fluid words and ideas we depend on. She flashed a picture of a decorated Christmas tree on the screen and said, “Take the next three minutes to write what comes to mind as fast as you can.”

    What do you know? There in the center of the tree was one red ball, the only one among all the ornaments. I don’t know if anyone else made the same connection, but here’s what I wrote:

    “A red balloon in the center of the tree. Was this planned? No, it’s a Christmas ornament. Monique’s red balloon represented something loved and lost and took the place in the child’s mind of the much God had for her. The red ball might represent God’s treasure—the much (Jesus)—loved and given up by God for us. How we grieve when we don’t have God’s perspective. How much we miss.”

    Maybe that sounds like rubbish to you. But there’s a kernel of truth there—a connection that I can ponder and expand upon later. And in the exercise I gained a valuable technique for unfreezing my brain when I think I’m stuck.

    God loves to bring harmony out of rubbish. Telling about his work is the joy of the Christian writer.

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