There’s something absolutely magical to me about a pink balloon. For one, people look at you differently when you’re carrying a balloon. They wish you a happy birthday, or just generally send warm fuzzy feelings in your direction. They smile when they see the bright pop of color unexpectedly bobbing above your head. With it tied to your backpack, you can feel like you have a friend with you at all times.
One of the great myths of American society is that you need a particular reason to have a balloon. If you believe this, let me tell you — you’ve been duped. Absolutely anyone can trot down to the nearby Albertsons and buy yourself a dose of instant happiness for only one dollar. And as the employee will be quick to point out, you get a price break if you buy in bulk! More balloons and more happiness for “less” money? That’s why I rarely ever leave the florist department with under a dozen balloons, even when I only needed one. So much for spending less; I can never resist a sale.
Perhaps my love of balloons is tied to my love of flying. I have recurring dreams on the subject often. Sometimes I’m like Curious George and accidentally float away on a big bunch of balloons. Other times, I find that I can simply think my feet off the ground and into the sky. But every time, the initial rush of flying gives way to the awful realization that I am up in the air with no way of getting safely down. Suddenly, delight turns into terror.
I wonder if this is a little bit how all of life is like. We desperately want to get off the ground and fly. Whether that means finishing college, getting the right job, or meeting the perfect person. Perhaps we want to get off the ground in our family; we long for them to recognize us for who we are and how much we have changed. Or perhaps flying means finding the courage to follow what we feel God is calling us to, even when doing so is the scariest thing in the world. We long to float upwards into freedom and success, but fear losing the comfort of the familiar hands that support us where we are. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think this is not an uncommon experience in life.
We are living in tension.
The tension between what we long for and what we fear will happen. The tension in the space between the clouds and the ground, when we’re not quite sure if we’re closer to falling or flying. We want to do what we were made for, but with that comes the risk of failure or hurt. Like a balloon on the end of a string, we dance in the wind, but stay close to the ground, feeling the tensions of being in between.
We speak to that in this issue.
In these pages, you can explore with us some of the tensions we live in every day. There’s the decaying physical world all around us, waiting to be redeemed and begging for our care. There’s the jungle of our own finances, demanding our attention and wise cultivation.
We talk to individuals in families who don’t understand the faith they live for. People share their stories of trying to follow God ‘s calling on their lives despite challenges and controversy. And we ask what it means to be a campus family living in tension, but working every day to get through it for the greater cause of fellowship in Christ.
Join us also in some moments of lighthearted fun along the way. We took a staff road trip this semester, and we have the 411 on how you can do it too. We address the #hip factor at Biola, with a behind the scenes interview of our cooler-than-he-gives-himself-credit-for president DBC. And we have some fun ideas for your New Year’s resolution list with our 13 Themes for 2013 article.
There are many bits of light and joy to relieve life’s tensions, if you only know where to look. We hope this issue of the Point not only reveals some of those tensions, but begins to explore solutions. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we had fun creating it.
And next time you need to smile, treat yourself to a balloon and buy one for a friend too. After all, they’re only a dollar!