Belen Balloon Festival 2018

We’ve lived in Belen long enough now that we can say we’ve been to two March Belen Balloon Festivals. It was a warm March morning – we ate a quick bacon breakfast burrito smothered in green chile at Rita’s then headed to Eagle Park where the festival is held each third weekend in March.

I’m sure there were more balloons this year than last. The festival draws a lot of early risers – the Park was full of people – balloon festivals are early morning affairs – the cool air enables the hot air balloons to have maximum lift and the morning calm air makes for perfect conditions out here in the high desert.

We live in an amazing and good world. I might not have that impression if I spent my life inside reading about the world on my computer news and Facebook feed. There is plenty of evil by all accounts – the violence, injustice, and the political wrangling sadden us all – there is much work for all of us to do to help those who suffer from it all. In spite of all that, when we get out in the world and experience the living that goes on all around us we are not engulfed with evil. Quite the contrary – we see a world with smiling faces – with people who go to work each day and raise families and care about good and who get up early and head to the town park with children in tow to share in community – we see a park full of brightly colored balloons owned by people mostly like the rest of us with a passion for floating above it all in an enchanted place we call the high desert.

There is a passage in Luke 10 that speaks to the way we measure the important things in life and how we react to understanding an approach to life that emphasizes them.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ ” Luke 10:38–42 (NIV)

It might be that as ordinary people we should not let the reports of evil and the wringing of hands that goes with it distract us from the living of a daily life showing respect and love to all. It might be that indeed there is only one thing needed. God has left the world a message that centers on living lives that love neighbors. Part of that loving might just be getting up early on a March morning and joining community, smiling and enjoying a bunch of brightly colored balloons rising above a town park on an enchanted high desert floor.


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