by Randy Wilcox
I'm already laughing and I haven't even started writing about one of my fondest childhood memories.
It was the 60's, a time of innocence and discovery, they just landed a man on the moon! You could find me glued to the TV. I had to watch Every rocket launch and Every report from the astronauts. As with most kids my age, I dreamed of being an astronaut or maybe working on spacecraft at NASA. I'd lay in the grass and look up at the clouds and dream. They were big dreams for a little boy, but big dreams is what it takes to do great things. "Nothing is impossible, if you put your mind to it". That's what my mom always said. I could do anything! Her words of encouragement were very formative for me and helped me accomplish what others thought impossible. Just imagine...
Fueled with imagination, desire and lots of bubble gum, I spent my summer saving up for the biggest and best Weather Balloon of all, Ten feet in diameter. Ten feet tall! That would get me beyond the clouds! Finally after weeks of hard labor pulling weeds in my mom's flower bed, I'd earned enough to send off to Edmonton Scientific for my very own, real, giant, Ten Foot weather balloon. Wow! I couldn't wait, but wait I did. I waited everyday at the mail box, asking the mailman if maybe it had gotten lost or something. Mind you, that this started the day after I mailed my order. Each day the long walk back to the house empty handed got longer. A whole week passed and still nothing. By the end of the second week I was distraught. Good things come to those who wait. But this wasn't good. No ten foot balloon yet. The long, hot, summer days passed with no end, longing for my reward. Finally, after weeks of waiting, my package arrived with my name on it. How cool is that!! A day that will go down in history. As I ran back to the house with my package, I couldn't wait to open it. Oh the anticipation, my chance to reach for the stars had come! One large step for a small boy! Here we go… the waiting was over, the heavy packing tape was cut… the box about to open, wait for it…. What? That's it!? A small shriveled up rubber balloon that looked like a whoopee cushion. Ten feet? seriously?! At first I tried blowing it up with my mouth, but it was so hard it made my ears pop. Hmmm, instructions, inflate using a pump or the exhaust from a vacuum cleaner. Ohhh.. hey… we have a nice new vacuum cleaner, but how can I get it to blow? Momma did say I could do anything, right!? Yep. I modified her new vacuum so it blew. Even fixed it so I could fit the balloon on it! The whirring of the vacuum sounded more like a groan, but it was working. Keep in mind that the instructions said to blow the balloon up a foot at a time and wait an hour so it had time to stretch. But who's waiting? I'd already waited all summer. The balloon was getting bigger and bigger and bigger… to the point that it touched the ceiling. I figured I'd better stop and take it outside so it wouldn't pop against the ceiling. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a gentle breeze across the lake, plenty of room for a ten foot balloon. With no obstructions the balloon got bigger and bigger. It was awesome to see, even two guys in a fishing boat stopped to watch. Six feet, then seven… eight..... then Nine! It was as tall as the first floor on the back of the house. I was in awe, wow, just a little more and we'll have made it to ten! When all of a sudden "BOOM!"… She exploded and not just a little pop. The huge gush of air knocked me over, and a cloud of white powder covered me like someone had hit me with a bag of flour. Apparently the balloon was full of talcum powder to keep the rubber from sticking. Meanwhile, the two guys in the boat were laughing so hard they just about capsized their boat. There I was, covered in white powder, my dreams up in a cloud of dust. The words of a song describe it this way:
I close my eyes
Only for a moment, and the moments gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind
Fortunately, I have a greater hope, a hope that is not tied up in earthly things or dreams.
"May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from Him"
Life on this side of Heaven is only for a moment, but Eternity is forever and ever. I hope to see you there.