One of the first things I did when I got my own place as a young adult was throw a big theme-party. I love party-planning and making people feel special with little details and creative decor, so I rented the club house, picked up some dry-ice and colored light bulbs, and sent out invites for a costume party.
Over the years I relished the chance at hosting birthday parties, bridal showers and wine and cheese events. One of my favorites was the “Pride and Prejudice” party I threw a few years back, complete with English tea sandwiches, soundtrack playing in the background and later, a screening of the movie itself.
This party would be no different. We were hosting a bridal shower for close family friends. It had to be special. Both the catered menu and the bride’s style denoted an elegant atmosphere, so where to begin?
When decorating for a party, to balloon or not to balloon is the question for me.
For some, balloons are a go-to for decor since they are a space-filling, eye-catching way to celebrate and add color: for others, they denote a child-like atmosphere.
I remembered that my recent college grad spent the last year of his life helping an events coordinator (who is a balloon specialist) set up and tear down many events for the large public university he attended. I had an expert on hand. Not only that, I had an apprentice. My younger son was going to be freshman at the same school working the same job. They, along with my son’s girlfriend who had also helped with events, were excited to pitch in and decorate so we put on some music and worked into the night.
The shower was a success and the balloons were a hit. Tearing down afterward was heart-breaking for me, wondering if I really needed to toss it all away.
I said a little prayer and posted pictures on the neighborhood website, hoping someone may have a shower or party where they could use some decor within the next few days. Within a few hours I had a response! I had plans to meet up with a woman the next day who said she could use them.
I loaded the car and set off to meet her at our local recycling center. It seemed a little silly to me that I was going to such trouble to spare the balloons, but I knew it was more than that somehow.
When we finally connected, we transferred the festive rose-gold and silver bunches from my car to hers as she related the new re-purpose for the balloons. She was throwing a birthday party for her friend who was turning 60 on Sunday.
As she described the kind of friend she celebrating, she mentioned the countless hours of service this woman had put into her community and church. How her friend didn’t want to bother anyone with a party, but gradually succumbed to this woman’s desires to celebrate her. And finally, upon seeing the elaborate designs of the balloons and their elegant nature, she said with an air of awe, “these will bless her so much.”
I was so moved, I exclaimed, “Thats amazing! I said a little prayer that these would help someone somehow.” I explained how my kids had worked so many hours on them, trying to help me, while creating something beautiful for our family friend.
She began to tear up at the providence of it all, which might seem insignificant to someone who thinks God doesn’t care about the little things in life. “God is so good,” she sniffed, wiping her eyes.
We were both silent for a moment of awe and wonder. I agreed, His hand had directed this divine meeting. We talked a little longer, and even texted for a while after that, sharing some hopes and joys, (as well as needs for prayer from each other) and mostly our gratitude for the “God-nod” that we had both received that day, knowing He had brought us together over something as simple as party decor.
Post script! A year later this beautiful soul reached out to me with a text saying she did not forget the generosity of the balloons and nor the THREE more parties these balloons traveled to to bless people for their occasions!! Loaves and fishes indeed!!