Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Messages to heaven

June 27, 2012

“What makes them stay together?” my friend, colleague and fellow cancer survivor asked as we stood on the track and watched the balloons, which carried messages to heaven, float en masse overhead.

Each balloon was released singularly, a red one, a yellow one, a blue one. One soared straight up; another veered off to the right; a couple zigzagged their trek upward. As each balloon floated upward, all began to pull inward, toward one another, continuing upward.

The dance of an individual balloon, carrying a message of love and remembrance, even hope, became a ballet, with a cast of hundreds. As the balloons wafted higher and higher, the individual colors were lost and all were tiny, black dots in the high distance.

We watched as the ballet swirled; even the distant dancers pulled in closer to the troupe; not touching, crowding, or ricocheting off one another; dancing in shared movement, to music only they could hear.

We stood on the track and watched them out of sight.

“What makes them stay together?” she asked. Though we could not see them in that star-studded sky, we somehow knew they stayed together. She is a physician; she is thinking science. I am a psychologist; I am thinking relationship.

And I thought of us, standing there together; just as we, and so many like us, have walked together these last few years; individually yet not alone. Some unseen force pulls us together and sets us on our path, which seems initially a solo hike, until one looks around and finds hundreds of journey mates on the same road.

We are those balloons; singular in color, shape, and size; yet we are a troupe of dancers, whose movements are choreographed by an unseen hand, and whose music, at times, only we can hear. What holds us together? What keeps us dancing? I thought back on a recent experience of that evening, my third Relay for Life.

We stood in a circle under the night sky, and shared a miniature cup of symbolic wine and a tiny wafer. As the prayers from the Minister of Christ First Church, Melva Jarrett, and from an Elder of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, LeAnne Detar Newbert, wafted upward, the words were as those tiny balloons.

Singular words formed one upon another, until they become a prayer; utterances that speak of our needs, our desires, our gratitude, offer forgiveness and hope; words waft upward into the night sky and toward a sunrise, in which all colors are one, and our healing is complete. We are the balloons of the night sky.


Jason Bailey 5 years, 11 months ago

Even without the byline, I recognize Rae's writing -- focused on death, loss, grief, pain -- seriously, this maniacal lingering on death week after week is borderline cultish. It certainly is indicative of a need for counseling.


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