On Saturday morning I got up at 3.30am. I had been invited to take my daughter’s place on a hot air balloon adventure. The flight, which had been a service award to my son-in-law, had been scheduled for some time ago but had been called off when the party was already in the basket, due to wind issues.
I had been conflicted by the invitation and had taken almost an hour to accept it. I have a mild fear of heights but I have managed to force myself to look out of an aeroplane window once or twice. I have always had an issue with standing for long periods. In church I usually stand for the first worship song then sit for the rest. It’s easier now that I’m almost seventy. People expect old ladies to have some difficulty. My third issue was the easiest to overcome. I am not a morning person. For a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I was prepared to overcome my issues with the Lord’s help. In the back of my mind all this time was the knowledge that again the flight could be postponed. (The weather forecast had predicted a 40% chance of thunderstorms.)
We assembled on the launch site and photographed semi-inflated balloons.
We stood around waiting for our crafts to be ready. I lay down my jacket on a grassy edge and sat on it. No use standing unnecessarily I would need all the stamina I could get.
I knew at once when the decision was made. There was a sudden silence as all the fans were switched off. There is nothing as sad-looking as a deflating hot air balloon.
Turns out the visibility was the issue this time; and the fact that there were electrical storms in the vicinity.
My disappointment was tinged with relief. Now there would be no need for a burst of courage and by the time the rescheduled flight takes place, my daughter will have recovered from Covid.
Consolation prize was spotting a baby giraffe.
James says, “Come now, you who say ,’Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 ESV)
That is not to say we should not plan. I had to plan to get up early, to wear comfortable clothes, to take a camera. It means we should not cling too tightly to our own plans but allow the Lord to change our schedule without consulting us. I could cope with the disappointment of losing my once-in-a-lifetime experience because I had known from the start that cancellation was a high possibility. May I approach all my plans in that light and trust the Lord with the outcome.
Father God, thank you that you have given us opportunities for excitement, be it meeting up with family after a long break, a holiday, a leisure trip or a new opportunity to serve You. Please help me to make plans but hold them loosely, giving You the freedom to change them according to Your will. Amen.