One of the great events in our area every year is the Plano Balloon Festival. Each year, they invite hordes of photographers to take photos of the balloons by giving them a field pass which allows them to get right under them as they are taking off.
I decided to take them up on the offer a few years ago and was glad I did. I’d never been that close to hot air balloons let alone right under them as they were taking off. It truly is a site to see fifty balloons all take off at once.
They have different types of balloons, too. Some are animals, some are shaped like homes, and others just have great designs. It’s hard to believe they fly and, I’m not sure about anyone else, but you probably couldn’t pay me enough money to go up in one of them.
The experience did leave me feeling like a kid again. It’s one of the things photography can do for a person. While shooting photos of the joy in other people’s face, you begin to feel the same way. It’s contagious.
Probably the best part of the weekend was the Friday night ‘Burn’ when the balloons are all lit up (not flying thankfully) all at once. It gives everyone the chance to see just how much fire is blowing up into that cloth balloon.
I plan to take them up on their offer again this year and it should prove to be a lot of fun. It may even be a good excuse to purchase the fisheye lens I’ve been wanting too…
Watching the balloons creates a sense of joy and longing in people. If I had to describe it, I would say it creates a longing for a life free from strings, flying above the day-to-day craziness not knowing where you’re heading. That feeling that you’re on your way down a new path with the wind at you back.
In short, it creates a longing for freedom. Freedom from the past, freedom from the stresses of life, and freedom to go where you’ve never been before. How could anyone not want that? Yet, the truth is, the air will get let out of the balloon, the wind will calm, and the basket will come back down to the life it left behind.
The dream of freedom from all of life's worries is something to cherish and hold onto. But, at the end of the day, we will have responsibilities to come back to. The ability to ‘get away from it all," is truly just a brief moment in the span of most of our lives, because life is full of challenges
The true freedom in life doesn’t come from flying above it all. It’s found within. We can have that freedom. It can only come through having the Peacemaker in our hearts. The freedom He can provide, life can't take away.
We all long for that freedom from the stresses of life, pains of the past, and heaviness of financial burdens. But, I've learned I’m not going to find it in the sky under a balloon, or even at a beautiful beach somewhere. I’m only going to find it in time spent with Him. That is where it will be waiting to be found whenever it's needed.
Tonight, let’s travel down the freedom road together. As we turn to Him, I know He’ll guide us to where we need to be. He’ll help us carry those burdens, and, He’ll bring the freedom & peace we all need in this life and the life to come.