My aim with blogging was to tell the clinical, cold detail of my journey with cancer but as I write I realise there’s a softer, warmer, very encouraging part I must write about. This “must tell bit” I was only going to share much later but the last mountain of support from different people, has encouraged me to write the following sooner. If you’ve encouraged me in anyway, please read this.
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I have been fortunate to receive tremendous love, support, comradery, ubuntu, care… from both family and friends on this journey as. I call this “The Balloon Effect”.
As children, we played with balloons. The aim was to keep the balloon airborne for as long as possible. It must not touch the ground. We would jump, run, kick and scream in our efforts to keep the balloon afloat. Now, the balloon itself has some ability to keep itself up in the air, but it cannot do this forever, by itself.
People are like balloons.
I’m like a balloon.
My life experience has toughened me to a great degree to weather storms. This is not unique to me; we all face and have faced great personal storms. As a result of us overcoming past challenges, we have a certain capacity and tenacity within us to overcome life’s challenges and stay afloat… like a balloon. I particularly like thinking about the life of a biblical character, David. At an early age whilst he tends sheep, he is able to overcome a bear and a lion in protection of his family’s valuable livestock. On another day, he stretches forth and takes food to his brothers whilst they are participating in war. There he offers to fight Goliath on their behalf, a powerful, fear-inspiring chap in the opposition army.
David takes Goliath down, largely because of the confidence and courage he’s built in previous battles.
Our previous battles prepare us to be greater conquerors later. We have a great degree of courage within. Then, when others come beside us in encouragement, our courage is given a boost, and our balloons stay afloat.
Let me get back to the balloon effect:
There is something indescribable when those around me – friends, family, colleagues and even strangers – assist in keeping “my balloon afloat”. The words of encouragement, prayers, little gestures and assistance from people is like a group of kids, stretching themselves to help keep my balloon in the air.
The further effect of this process is that life just seem so much more liveable for me; the challenges are less challenging, and HOPE is kept alive.
I’ve often been on the giving end in life. I don’t say this boastfully. I love giving. Giving to make life more liveable for others gives me great joy. We should never underestimate the power of giving to others. It’s personally liberating. Winston Churchill said it this way: “ We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Now that being said, I am thoroughly enjoying being on the receiving end of this process. I am often left speechless by the length and breadth people have gone to support me and to keep me afloat. These efforts by others has enabled me to fly higher. It has also encouraged me to tell my story and in so doing, encourage others. See, there’s a beautiful cyclic effect in all of this. And I’m loving it.
Be encouraged friends.
Whenever you can – stretch forth and be that person who will bump up someone else’s balloon… like kids do. The balloon bump you are about to do may seem small to you but the effect on the recipient may be indescribable.