Can you identify the Anchors at the corners of your life ?
A few years ago I took both of my kids up in a hot air balloon. I had enjoyed doing it in Alaska during the winter with my brother, a birthday celebration in January and February means you have to be willing to do things in good, cold, sweet weather! It was about freezing ambient temperature, but the gondola hanging below that envelope of hot air was a warm 30-40 degrees.
So, between the idea of a gift, and I “gotta do it again”, we booked, traveled, and met the balloner at a remote yard north of Seattle… Around Woodinville. We boarded and sailed as the wind drifted us to the south. 2,000 feet above the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. We enjoyed the experienced!
Now, it was a beautiful time with the kids… but my bride refuses to ride so high!
How do you control your path while drifting on the currents of air? No powered engine. No rudder. Not even a steering wheel! There is no rope anchored to the ground giving you a tethered flight… No…The pilot generally takes note of the wind direction at varying altitudes, so he would know how high to be as he directed the craft to float in a certain direction. Then, when he’s ready to bring the balloon down he knew which altitude to be at so that we would move the appropriate direction.
Balloons are filled with hot air from a propane torch. A high speed fan opens the envelope and the torch begins to burn and heat the air as it fills the balloon. Since we know heat rises, the assembled balloon begins to take it’s shape and eventually rises upwards and settles into position with the basket (gondola) anchored to the ground.
Anchored, that is, until everyone is ready to fly!
The balloon Pilot gives us our safety instructions and we crawl into the gondola. As the torch is lit again, and the balloon strains against the tethers, the Pilot determines the speed we will rise, the direction and force of the wind, and while scanning for obstacles, the tethers are released and we begin our ascent into the sky.
The kids took some beautiful photographs that day.
People, shadows, skyline, ground – it was a magnificent ride.
This is my favorite photo as you see the sun shine through the balloon, leaving the shadows of our rise from the earth upon the trees below, as we began our flight out of the forest.
As we enjoyed the experience, I began noticing how we were attached to the envelope of hot air that floated us on the breeze. Four simple anchor points at each corner of the gondola. Welded to the framework was a loop of metal, and attached to that simple little piece of steel were two carabiners… Eight total, attached to the ropes that connected the gondola to the envelope.
Four anchor points. Eight carabiners.
Caring a total weight of perhaps 2,000 pounds, stressing between the weight and the pull of the envelope full of hot air. Four anchor points. Eight carabiners. And no telling how many ropes wrapped up over and through the envelope keeping us connected together.
These connect points were all that were keeping us suspended between heaven and earth. How long had they been used? Were they over stressed? Should they be replaced? Would the replacements be up to the challenge to continue the mission? What about the rope? This gondola looks pretty weak? Wait, is that a tear in the side of the envelope above us? The questions should make a sane person determine whether to put their trust in mans ingenuity, but we do it every single day with everything we are involved with…
So. Why not a Hot Air Balloon?
I thought on this again this morning, as I listened to a message by my pastor, James L Kilgore, who led me during my teen years, and later as a young man heeding the call of ministry
I can close my eyes and see him standing in front of us, preaching his heart out. I can hear his unique voice and would be able to pick him out of crowd – just at the sound of his voice. Youth services. Choir trips. Preaching. Teaching. Altar services. Worship. Praying. Leading. Guiding a church, a district, a nation, a world… A great anchor of my past that lingers into who I am today…
We have many anchor points, and maybe even a double number of carabiners connecting us to those envelopes of life that keep us afloat. Lose one of those anchor points and the other three must be prepared to salvage the experience. The life.
Can you name those anchor points of your life? Are you still consciously connected to them? What happens when that Anchor passes away? James Kilgore. Franklin Jones. Grandparents.
I thought about that as my wife uttered the phrase, “I no longer have a mom and dad to call at Christmas.” She has no connection to the prior anchors of her life. She’s now the anchor to the next generation. Anchors gone, 3 months ago, and 13 years ago, and 25 years ago….
How do you continue living your life when the Anchor is history?
We all understand that we are present day examples of those that anchored our life when we were young and impressionable. The older you get, the less others can make a new impression. You are almost cast in stone the person you are. But grow up without good anchors in your life, how on earth do you ever create strong foundation for yourself, and that next generation that will depend on you?
Anchors give you framework on where you were developed, who you learned by, and what you take with you as you become that adult. They do not hold you back, rather they release you at the right time to fly high… But the grounding of those anchors help you to know who you will become and how you will be an anchor to the next generation.
As we break the youthful ties that hold us in position, we begin to grow into life, above, and far from where we grew up. Yet, that anchor of who you are is still there, even when they have passed. They hold you positively in place of those who poured themselves into you so that you become the person you are supposed to be.
Do not let loose of those anchors, casting off from familiar shores without a thought on how to stay connected to those anchors that developed us into the person we are today. You are drifting… You need anchors in your life…
How will you do if you set yourself loose from all the anchors that represent the corners of your life? There is still another anchor you need. Today. Now. For always.
This anchor shall hold in adversity,
When all else does threaten to give way;
This anchor keeps my vessel from drifting,
Never letting my ship run astray.
This anchor holds though angry seas batter,
When dangerous waves threaten to take hold;
This anchor holds in the lonely night hours,
When darkness renders my spirit less bold.
This anchor holds with vigil over me,
Scans water lest my ship drift away;
This anchor is trustworthy and faithful,
Making unanxious my passageway.
This anchor holds fast though life is fleeting,
When death’s icy hands grasps for me once more;
This anchor will never let me falter,
Till my ship moors on that sacred shore.
This anchor shall hold in the Great Judgment,
When the elements melt with fervent heat;
This anchor will calm and quiet my spirit,
Shoring me on with His grace complete.
This anchor holding me is sweet Jesus.
My ship is in his arrant control;
He is my one hope… He is my comfort…
He is the sure anchor of my soul!