I feel like a tired helium balloon…

… ungrounded. I’m just drifting aimlessly, hovering a foot above some dirty sidewalk, being pushed along by the counterfeit breeze of cars whizzing by.  I’m just bobbing along the storefronts of non-descript banks and dollar stores and mini-marts.  That gemstone shine I had at the beginning is dull.  And I’m untied.

At Alhambra High School, where I taught for 12 years, I was tied to a huge piece of purpose.  I just wrote this in my journal:

I was grounded,
In knowing what to teach them,
And how
And how I dug into complex Truths,
and somehow coaxed them into digging alongside me sometimes.
And the rewards were great,
Albeit subtle.

I invested in their souls.
And Jesus let me bring some special ones to YL camps at Woodleaf and Malibu—they got a glimpse at the real Jesus Christ and their incredible value.
I invested in school culture.  I belonged.  I had colleagues who stuck around. 

It felt good to be grounded.
But it’s one of those things  that’s rarely appreciated,
Until it’s gone.
And it’s gone.

I’m teaching now, but not grounded—in any sense. My contract dumps me into unemployment every June.

And then if I’m lucky it’s God’s will, I’ll get a call on the very last day of summer with a job offer to work at some other school in our massive district. And my papers won’t be processed in time for the first day of school. And maybe I’ll be co-teaching in someone else’s classroom.

I’m feeling ungrounded.  Not invested.  Because I’ll be gone soon.  This year I’m at a different site than last.  Moving classrooms sucks but moving schools sucks more.

I’m working on writing a book now.  So that means I have all these insights swirling deep in me, but it’s just me.  [this might have something to do with it] It’s a rich experience so far, but it leaves me wanting to be known, to be understood, to have someone sitting across the table from me to read my stuff every now and then.  With a couple hot lattes in real mugs between us.  With artsy froth on them.  And exposed wood walls and that cozy cabin feeling.

I want to be known, I want to be grounded.

My house up north, not to covet it—
It fit me, expressed me, I fit in it, because I labored years in and out to make it so.

I’m beyond blessed to have my new-to-me house down here—so call this the first world problem it is—
But this atmosphere is not one I’m grounded to.  It takes a long time for a house to feel like a home, I think.
And I sure was grounded in my garden too.

There’s so much good here.  I see God’s fingerprints all. Over. The. Place.
On the YL van parked on our curb
On the face of our new 22 year old brother who sleeps across the hallway.
In the gourmet food passionately prepared in our kitchen by our new so.cal bestie. A brother, really.
On our fun neighbors who make sangria and follow Jesus too
And our church, where everyone is so real.  Where people share about their marital struggles on a panel—the serious struggles, like infidelity and separation and addictions and bad fights.  They also tell about God’s redemption, which tells me He still works miracles. We know we’re all the same here.  The leaders confess their insecurities and where they fall short.  It’s beautiful, and we’re growing so much.

And beaches.  And the fact I’m working part-time, which is nice because it’s easier.

But the ungrounded part, the part where I float a foot about the concrete, that’s the hard part.  That’s the part that hurts for now.

And because my ribbon got untied,

My anxiety disorder came back at me in full force.  So it’s that isolated anxiety kind of hurt.

I wrote this prayer in my journal just now: 

You see my swirls.  You stand at my side, staring and wondering at the colorful thoughts I have yet to find words for, the ones You planted deep inside me.   Your very Spirit is inseparable from them.  I am understood by You–


2 thoughts on “I feel like a tired helium balloon…

  1. Its funny I was been trying to send you a FB message all afternoon and for some reason its not working, and then you wrote this post… so I’m commenting here 🙂 It’s something totally insignificant and unrelated to your post here… maybe try messaging me and it will work coming from the other direction? Thats a great illustration of the balloon, you’ve always been a great writer!


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