The Valentine's Day Balloon
This Valentine's Day my wife and I will celebrate
eleven years of a rock-steady relationship. It was on
that particular day eleven years ago that I asked her
to "go steady" with me. Later that year (November) we
were married. We will be celebrating eleven wonderful
years of a faithful relationship, and we also
celebrate the releasing of our eleventh balloon. Let
me explain; eleven years ago we had been dating only a
few weeks when Valentine's Day was approaching. I
bought flowers and a beautiful card for her; she
bought a rose and a huge helium-filled balloon for me.
We both drove to Kroger's and met in the parking lot.
I'll never forget being totally mesmerized by her
infectious smile as I watched her get out of her car.
She walked over to me and handed me the rose and
balloon, except I thought the balloon string was tied
to the rose, and she thought that I had a hold of the
string and the rose. We both stood and watched
helplessly as the balloon flew slowly out of sight.
Jewell began to cry; she thought that it was a
disaster to lose the balloon like that. It was at that
moment that I asked her to "go steady" with me and to
be mine and only mine; fortunately for me she said
Every Valentine's Day since, we have bought a balloon
and made our way to a public area to release it into
the sky. With this tradition we have been able to turn
tragedy into something memorable: what was originally
thought of as a blunder now is celebrated as a special
We have been very dedicated to our balloon-releasing
ceremonies. We have released balloons from different
states, and at times have been so busy that we were
forced to make a special effort in order to even
continue the tradition. In 1999, balloon number seven
was released in the middle of a hectic week of packing
as we were moving from one city to another. Balloon
number six was the very first to be released outside
of the state of West Virginia, and on February 13th
1996, my wife's father passed away after only one week
in the hospital; the next day we tearfully released
balloon number four.
We have been through quite a bit in the short time we
have spent together. After all this time I now realize
that I love her more today than I did eleven years
ago. I love my wife more than I love myself; as a
matter of fact, I would gladly lay down my life for
her if necessary. However, the interesting thing to
note is she is not number one on my priority list, and
thankfully nor am I on hers. God comes first in our
lives, then and only then, our respective spouse.
C. S. Lewis was quoted once as saying, "When I have
learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I
shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In
so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the
expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving
towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly
dearest at all. When first things are put first,
second things are not suppressed but increased."
Because God is prioritized at the number-one slot in
my life, I am able to love my wife even more so than
had I prioritized her first.
Helium balloons rise because of displacement. Helium
is lighter than air, and because it displaces air, it
causes it to rise. Also, air is lighter than water,
and because it displaces water, it causes it to rise.
In the same sense, the more we displace earthly things
which keep us grounded or tied down, the closer we can
get to God. In other words, the more sin we displace
or keep out of our lives, the higher the spiritual
levels we are able to attain in God. When we are able
to do this, it is as if we are actually sending a
Valentine balloon to God.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Remember, when it comes to God's love, you can rest
assured knowing there are no strings attached.
[ by Mike Colllins -- from 'Sermon_Fodder' ]
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