The ‘accident’ in the words of Mr Jed Parry
I ran as fast as I could towards the swelling grey mass that loomed closer to me as it descended over the forest and two picnickers ahead of me. It was an enormous hot air balloon, though there was no tall flame shooting into the balloon itself or indeed any instrument that would imply this function was possible. It was simply floating down toward me as if it had fallen from heaven and was being guided by the hand of the lord himself. As soon as I clapped eyes upon the craft I could sense disaster.
The pilot, I have since assumed, must have been trying to land this bulging ark of omnipotence and tangled his leg in a rope attached to some sort of anchoring devise. He was now struggling to keep his grip upon the basket for the weight of the anchor dragging him to the ground. It was then I stopped to embrace it, a sudden rush of compassion almost sexual arousal, but much deeper as if it radiated from my very soul. I closed my eyes and hugged myself. I knew then that it would today that I would form a spiritual connection with a fellow human being, something more than love that would bind us together.
I knew it was my destiny to become immersed in this situation for this purpose and this purpose only. I opened my eyes with an elated smile and charged towards the scene with something magical pumping through my veins and the arm of god pushing me to the balloon. I began to see others rushing to the balloon and I could feel him. I did not at the time know who, but God told me he was there. When the balloon finally stopped it was still some distance away, but I did not cease running nor did I slow, I couldn’t, I was drawn to him pulled by an invisible force.
I had gained considerable distance the wind suddenly picked up speed and I was propelled even faster to the scene. It was then that the first defining moment occurred; the balloon once again began to surge upward revealing directly opposite me the brilliant, Christly white of his shirt corresponding so imminently to mine. It shone through the chaos of all else like the light of Jesus and filled me with happiness and joy. That was my first sense of who he was. I could see him running as if to embrace me like a lover and I too ran to him.
He took hold of a dangling rope and when I arrived I did the same. I savoured the moment to simply gaze into his deep eyes and took in all I could in the several seconds we hung mirroring each other. The balloon was pulled down far enough back down to earth that I could have looked in and then eventually was brought to rest on the ground, but now we had been moved further down the field onto a long seep bank. I could feel, however, that the episode was far from resolved, there was more to come.
I knew this not because the wind had not yet stopped, but because I had still not yet felt any spiritual bond; it required something else to bring us together, a life changing moment to bring about the greater good. I remember an extreme amount of raucous noise at this point, some people shouting ideas others abuse, but all the time I was watching him. It was only when he dived into the basket in some attempt to pull a boy free that I felt I should appear some help. I began to blurt senseless ideas at least they must have been because I could not stop thinking about nor could I stop looking at him.
It was then I felt my second defining moment. I closed my eyes and all I could hear was the rushing wind in my ears and for a fleeting instant felt absolute calm and inner peace. In this time I took the opportunity to utter a short prayer and the moment I poke the ‘Amen’, it was answered. Almighty god took hold of the balloon with a force, like nothing I had felt before and I held tight to my rope, eyes wide, body tensed, with what must have been a look of pure awe painted over my face and we were lifted. I had two choices at this moment: be carried to heaven and join our farther or fall and continue to follow the path to him.
I had known the answer before my feet had left the ground and I instantly withdrew my grip. I landed hard on my back, but felt no pain. I gazed to the sky satisfied and once again closed my eyes to thank God for working the miracles a had taken part in today and listened for the falling bodies around me, which did not take long to come. I knew that he would not be harmed, but as I sat up to gaze ahead my heart must have skipped a beat when I saw a body still hanging from the balloon impossibly high in the air and quickly got to my feet searching for him.
He was unharmed, but gazing at this man with horror projected onto a face with personified emotion. I had no choice, but to mirror his expression, though I did no do so because of a certain death, I knew what he evidently did not; it was Gods will, I did so because I could almost feel what he felt, see inside him. I did not see it happen nor was there any sign to me that he had fallen when he did until a woman came rushing onto the scene crying and flung her arms around him.
It would be soon that a feeling of complete ecstasy and fulfilment would take over my senses; he turned and gazed right into my eyes, through anything material that a normal person would see, through my face, through the colour of my eyes or the tone of my skin and directly into my soul touching me as if possessed the gaze of Jesus himself. I knew for sure that it was with Joe that I had made my holy bond and when he spoke those words it sound like I had passed into eternal paradise.