Turning south onto Vermont Street while downtown today, I saw them: 7 heart-shaped prayer balloons floating upward, high above Wheatfield’s bakery on their way east for some mission or another. I call them prayer balloons because many years ago, I discovered the magic contained in balloons, meant for prayer or not.
When our family was in a terrible car accident, and Forest was life-flighted to the children’s hospital, after his miraculous recovery, we came home to many balloons. The balloon soon found each other, tangled their strings accordingly and traveled the house at will, not just for days, but for weeks. At night, Ken and I sleeping around Forest, then five and recovering from a brain injury, the balloons always wandered back to our bedroom and suspended themselves over us.
“They’re not prayer balloons. They’re just balloons,” Daniel insisted at the time, but I didn’t believe him then, and I still don’t. No wonder that as we’ve moved through other losses, there always seem to some lingering balloons that follow us around the house, reminding us that people’s prayers are with us.
So I’m thrilled to see balloons released or runaway together. Maybe they were to commemorate some or celebrate something, or maybe they just happened because it was time. Whatever the source, another sign quickly followed. I turned down an alleyway to head to a friend’s house for lunch and douse of songwriting together, and I found another balloon waving itself before me. Okay, it was tethered to a trash can, but it was dancing up a storm, telling someone to get well, and reminding me of how well our wishes can fly.