Let me set the scene. It’s 3pm and 107 degrees in the shade, which I’m sitting under on the cement step of my front porch. A clothes basket, a new hose with a little nozzle on it, 4 million balloons, and a mission to fill each and every one for recreation at Vacation Bible School tonight is my duty. As I wrestle the hose to just the right angle, I think about how some folks are called to glamorous ministries like our friend, Emily, who translates bibles in Papua New Guinea or a friend of mine, who brings people into God’s throne room with her gift of leading worship in Atlanta. Important stuff. I am sure not a one of them says ‘ah, to be a water balloon filler!”
I sit on the porch with the hose between my knees, trying my best to keep it crinked until I get the itty bitty lip of a lime green water bomb on the end. About the time the water starts to jet into it, my rear-end alerts my brain that it is being fried like a pancake on a griddle. My jean shorts had held their ground to protect me as long as they could. I flew up, thus causing the balloon to fly in a stream of water aimed at me. The metal end of the hose landed half on my flip-flop, half on my foot branding a nice little striped rectangle there. I begin to dance the dance I once saw on Gilligan’s Island, when some jungle voodoo chief was trying to set Lil’ buddy and his grass skirt on fire. After that, I noticed the traffic on my street picked up dramatically.
The few surviving blades of grass left in the yard loudly shouted ‘hallelujah!’ when I let the hot water run to cool down .
Grabbing a cushion off the glider, I settle myself back to the balloon business. The hose, I learned, has a mind of its own. It would build pressure and just take off if I didn’t have a firm grip. Did you know they can do flips? They can and will spray you as they somersault across the lawn/beach of our front yard. As I tried to tame the beast, memories of my only steer riding outing came flashing back as I hung on for dear life.
How much water I allowed in at one time was key. Too much too fast and the balloon would blow, soaking me from the waist down. If it went in slowly, but filled too full, it would burp straight up and soak my upper half, including my hair. Good thing I had changed out of my purple shirt that was the VBS color-of-the-night before taking this on. The ones that exploded for no reason were frustrating. More so were the ones, once tied and gently laid in the basket, would think it was funny to pop as you were quietly retreating.
Balloon #4, I tried to convince myself that 4 would be enough for all four groups cycling through recreation. It didn’t work as I was a kid once and there are not enough water balloons in the world to satisfy a kid, let along 50. So, I figure sacrificing my index finger due to lost circulation from the necks of balloons being wrapped around it might earn me a little jewel in my soaked crown. I kept at it, knowing that no where in scripture are water balloons mentioned and probably for good reason!
The brand-spanking new mailman drove up. What do you know this would be the day a package was arriving, causing him to bring the mail to me. He looked scared as he assessed the streams of water wildly flying through the air as the woman old enough to be someone’s grandma was clamping a geyser between her knees as she tied off a water bomb. He edged cautiously through the yard.
“I direct bible school at our church and this is for some games tonight.”
He looked even more nervous as he tried to hand the letters to me as I fought the hose.
“Oh!” he said as the light bulb came on that this was not a good time for me to let go and grab the mail. He slowly kept his bag between me and him like I was a rabid pit bull. He put the box and mail on the porch, much like someone putting down the gun in a stand-off where the other guy has more firepower. Did he think I was going to go into attack mode or what? Like my index finger was going to let me waste any precious ammo.
If my friend, Norma, was still delivering the mail, she would have said “well, done good and faithful servant” and told me her great story about how VBS had got her family to start going to church. She would have convinced me this work was worthwhile. I would have been renewed and refreshed to do the task at hand.
Instead, Mr. Postman jetted back to the safety of his truck. I couldn’t help but yell at his fast-moving backside, “So ya want me to get you wet?” Dust was all I saw as he zoomed down the street-never to be seen again.
Or so I thought. Four times he drove by in the hour I filled, tied, and got soaked. My neighborhood isn’t that big for him to get that lost or miss that much mail. Maybe he was entertained? From his stares I know he was intrigued. I would love to know what was going on in his head! I had to giggle and was encouraged that I was doing what I needed to be doing.
God asks each of us to be faithful in where he puts us, doing what he wants us to do. Being a fool for him is evidently pretty important and something that I seem to succeed at on a regular basis. Being the Crazy Lady at 200 W. Washington may not be so bad after all.