Be a Balloon

On a street corner in the middle of the city sat a vendor cart, adorned with bright balloons to attract customers. This cart sold balloons and eggs and was creatively named Balloons ‘N Eggs. (I’m not sure what the guy’s business strategy was with this pairing, but that’s not the point). The balloons lived life often wondering what awaited them in the world beyond the cart. Each time one was purchased and taken away, the other balloons imagined what wonders could await them in the world beyond. The eggs, on the other hand, lived a life filled with fear, watching their comrades get split open, cooked alive, and eaten. None of them had much optimism, living with a mantra of, “What’s the point? We either get murdered and cooked, dropped and killed, or thrown in the Pit of the Dead” (That’s what they called the garbage can). One day, from the sky, landed a deflating balloon, right between an egg and a balloon. The cart balloons had never met an outsider before, and one of the balloons spoke up; he had to know what was beyond the cart.

“It’s beautiful,” replied the new balloon.

“What is?”

“The world out there. I saw the city! So many new buildings! New people! There’s so much life out there! But then I started to float, and float, and float. Higher and higher until I could see the whooooole city.”

“You were above the buildings?”

“Higher! The air was so crisp and clean and I could see for miles and miles. I even made it above the clouds.”

“There’s no such thing as clouds,” a gravelly voice chimed in. It was an egg.

“The highest this universe goes is that umbrella above me. Don’t give the poor kid the wrong idea.”

“No, Egg,” replied the first balloon, “he’s right. I can see the clouds from here.”

“Just cuz you can see ‘em, doesn’t mean you should go tryin’ to float up to ‘em,” grumbled the egg. “Stay here on the cart with the rest of us where you won’t get hurt.”

“But I’ll be flying! I want to see what’s beyond the clouds!”

“It ain’t worth it, kid. Someone will probably catch you, break you, and put you in a pan somewhere. That’s the way of the world. Hate to break it to you…”

“But the new balloon-“

“-got lucky. You ain’t lucky. Why else you think you’re tied to this cart?”

“Trust me,” the new balloon interjected with a gasp for air, “It’s the most… glorious freedom you’ll ever know.”

With that, the balloon exhaled one final time and was quiet. The egg and balloon both took a moment of silence to commemorate the moment until suddenly that silence was broken by a small voice.

“I’ll take that one, daddy!” It was a young girl, about seven years old, pointing at the balloon and excitedly jumping up and down. Her father handed her the balloon, handed the vendor some money, and off the balloon and girl went together, grinning from ear to ear.

“Bye, Egg!” The balloon shouted back. “I’ll tell you all about the clouds when I get back.”

“I hate balloons.”

With that, the Balloon turned his gaze upward to the sky and disappeared around the corner.

Meanwhile, an overweight middle-aged man approached the cart.

“I’ll have two eggs. Scrambled.”

Are you an egg or are you a balloon? Not physically – I’m assuming all of you reading this are human beings – but mentally and emotionally, which are you? Are you worried about what could happen next, pessimistic about the present with fear about things that could happen? Or are excited by your future, optimistic in the moment, eyes set on goals you plan on achieving? Do you yearn to learn more? Expand your horizons? Be better? While a balloon may never be an egg, and an egg may never be a balloon, you can choose whether you think like an egg or a balloon. When an egg falls, it breaks. Whether you expect to break or fly, your expectation often fulfills your prophecy. If you expect to fail, you’re going to think, talk, and act differently than you would if you expected to rise up and succeed. Even if you don’t get exactly what’s expected, if you think like a balloon, you open yourself up to making the most out of the results you get. Then, knowing there’s a world of possibility out there, you can rise even higher.

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