THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON.
“Your life is like a balloon. If you never let yourself go, you will never know how far you can rise.” – Linda Poindexter
There is a famous mural by the artist Banksy on the South Bank in London. The mural shows a grey and drab background. It is colourless and features a staircase. It is not the sort of place people stop. It is the sort of place people pass by and through. Yet there is something happening here. A small girl is stood with her arm outstretched. A short distance from her hand is a bright red balloon in the shape of a heart. Is she letting go or catching the balloon? On the staircase the words “There is always hope” appear. The work to us is a picture of some deep realities and meanings. In this blog we will touch on some of them.
The scenery is grey and seems meaningless. It is the sort of place we have all walked passed without noticing. It is like so many other places in our life. Scenery not sense. Part of the city furniture not part of our purpose. Life can seem meaningless at times. It can – even in the brightest outer weather – seem grey. There is a lesson here. If we just look at this side we may get down and lost. There is another picture. There is another story.
A young girl with a balloon is present. The young girl perhaps calls us to learn from children. It may represent child- like hearts and openness to new things. The girl seems to be linked to another possibility and purpose than her background. Her purpose is the red balloon. Is she reaching out for it or is she surrendering it to the wind? To us the picture says that in the drabness and tiredness of life we have to reach out for our dreams and release our qualities into the world.
And then there is the words ‘There is always Hope’ Written in the scenery is the call that there is also the possibility of a different tomorrow and life. The young girl seems to be the incarnation of the words as if the words have become real and alive. The work offers the picture of hope amidst the sameness. It offers a young heart hoping and sharing dreams. Perhaps that is something we can all do and choose to be.
Hope has a beautiful sister. She is gentle as a baby’s hand and as powerful as a laser. Her name is love. The balloon is heart-shaped. The shape represents kindness, goodness and love. In the centre of the mundane is found the magic – an open heart and hope. In difficult times we must start afresh and keep reaching for the balloon – sharing and caring with love is what makes a difference to those we have the honour to be with.
One of the most wonderful vocations is midwifery. Midwives and midwife students describe how awed they are when they see a mother hold her new born child ( skin to skin – heart to heart ) . One shared her thoughts with us. She wrote of ‘The look on a mother’s face as she sees her child for the first time. It gives me chills and makes my heart soar. Joy , Amazement ,Adoration ,Love … It’s like their love is bigger than the room – it’s so wonderful to see.’ In the midst of this there is that loving gaze from mother to child and child to mother. Mother lost in contemplation of her baby. No words are necessary. Love reigns. We have those loving gazes at other times too. From friends, partners and kind people. We are also capable of offering these loving gazes flowing from hearts like that balloon. It is when we see the beautiful and become present in its presence that this happens. It is when we find our red balloons and offer and receive these loving gazes that we know – despite the greyness and drabness- life is colour and beautiful.