So June edition of the church magazine is out...
And this is the article I wrote...
Lessons in Life from a Helium Balloon
This is a story I heard in church when I was about ten years old. A bunch of us were being prepped to receive First Holy Communion and during the retreat that is usually held just before the big day, a priest told us this story and since then it has always stuck with me. I remember sitting in church with my friends, when this priest walks in and starts telling us this poignant story.
A man was selling his balloons at a fair and to attract the children running around, he would cut the string of a helium balloon from time to time. He let loose a red balloon first, and watched it as it soared across the skies. He then cut the string of a blue balloon and it too went soaring up and out of sight. Noting that the kids were riveted by this display he let loose another white balloon that danced and flitted out of sight too. This little marketing trick worked, for the kids kept lining up to buy his balloons. After satisfying his little customers the man looked around happy and relaxed, taking in the sights of a thriving country fair. He happened to notice a little dark girl peeping at him, her wide eyes staring at his balloons. He beckoned and she slowly walked up to him, he asked her if she would like a balloon. The little girl shook her head no, but she kept looking at the balloons tied to the helium canister. Intrigued, the man asked her what she wanted and she hesitatingly asked if the black balloon would fly as high as the other balloons. The man shrugged and said, “I don’t know. Let’s find out… shall we?” So saying he proceeded to cut the string of the black balloon, and both of them watched as that black balloon slowly became a dot in the sky and disappeared among the clouds. The little dark girl was genuinely pleased with the result and she turned to thank the man. The man knelt down and whispered that the colour on the outside doesn’t make a difference to the balloon, what matters is the substance inside that makes it soar. And so it is with us humans too, what really matters is inside you; let your beautiful soul reflect your nature and you will cross horizons.
This is all I remember of that retreat, a simple story that made an impact on all our young minds. Society has entrenched in us this concept of fair skin being the epitome of beauty and success. All those inane advertisements that depict the need to be fair to land a good job or to be accepted by friends, or to be noticed by that guy you like… are misleading and discriminating. It’s disconcerting to know that many celebs who endorse such fairness products, do not take the time to reflect on their actions which could be detrimental to young minds.
Like the little girl in the story we should learn to rise above society’s convoluted notions of what is considered desirable and beautiful. We should learn to judge for ourselves, learn to love ourselves the way God created us. Learn to live for His Kingdom and along the way lead others also to His everlasting Kingdom.
Your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:4