In watching through my windshield, it didn’t take long to surmise that some of these balloons were ascending to greater heights than the others were; though they were all riding upon the same air.
Why was this? I wondered. If I were captaining one of those balloons, I’d take it up as high as it’d allow, and enjoy every vista it afforded to me for as long as I possibly could.
I continued on my drive to work, balloons drifting in and out of my thoughts all morning.
As school began and my students entered the classroom, I at once noticed several different ‘altitudes’ to the children who arrived that morning. While most of them were buoyed up with the exhilaration of a new day, and the thrill of being in school; a few others entered half deflated and drifted in at different levels throughout the room. I’m convinced that one of them had even popped his balloon, and had then since used the string to tether himself to the ground in an effort not to rise.
As I watched these different altitudes, it was glaringly obvious that each of them had made a conscious decision as to how high they were going to rise that day; it dredged to the surface of memory a bulletin board someone had put up in my middle school years ago.
Your attitude determines your altitude.
How true those words ring, even after a myriad of years, and a lifetime of experiences.
I thought about myself—about my own life.
Like those great creatures of flight I’d seen that morning, how many moments had passed when I had felt my spirits buoyed to the skies and still—allowed it to last only for the moment? How often had I made the decision to not fly free and unfettered to the heavens, but to plummet as Icarus, down to my own personal valley of consuming waves, wondering if I would ever find myself in the sun?
In a discussion with a friend of mine not too long ago, I made the comment, “The ground is a safe place.”
To this she replied, “Yes, it is, but if you don’t ever allow yourself to ascend to the skies, you will miss the amazing view.”
I think back to those celestial orbs ascending over the slumbering city and I decide that for now, I’ll rise.