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Work Place Chaplaincy Scotland Blog

A Change in Altitude

hot air balloon

In 1997 Steve Fossett was at 24500 ft, trying to fly round the world in a hot-air balloon when he faced a serious problem.

Steve takes up the story; “Whilst heading east across the Atlantic Ocean, the prevailing winds were carrying me straight for Libya. And this was a problem.

Libya had not granted me permission to fly in its air space, so they could shoot me down if they wanted. Since hot air balloons are subject to the prevailing winds, I had no way to turn and avoid Libyan air space.

The only way hot air balloons can turn is by adjusting their altitude. I could release

helium out of the balloon and drop to a lower altitude or heat the balloon and rise,

and hope it picks up a crosswind.

So I vented helium from the balloon, descended 6300 ft, and caught an air current

blowing southeast that allowed me to skirt the southern border of Libya.

When it was safe I heated the balloon up, rose ten thousand feet, and caught a wind

blowing due east that put me back on course.”

Balloonist Bertrand Picard commented; "In the balloon, you are prisoners of the

wind, and you go only in the direction of the wind. In life people think they are

prisoners of circumstance. But in the balloon, as in life, you can change altitude,

and when you change altitude, you change direction. You are not a prisoner

anymore." Using a play on words; altitude and attitude can change circumstances!

That could make such a difference to so many of us in so many ways. From our attitude to circumstances and problems to simply how we approach this Christmas season. Do we fly at that same old jaded altitude that makes it a chore at best, or change our attitude like Scrooge in Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol, and decide to look for, and hopefully see through it all to the wonder of the Christmas story and what the celebrations are really about. Maybe there really is something in it.

By adjusting your attitude, you can rise above what seems inevitable and choose

where you go and how you go, instead of being simply carried along with no control.

That’s not just about Christmas; that’s something for 2019.

Btw; in 2002, on his 6th attempt Steve successfully flew around the world.

Have a great Christmas!

From Geoff and Chic.

geoff.findlay@wpcscotland.co.uk, 07933167480,

chic.lidstone@dundeecity.gov.uk, 07814093240

Chic and Geoff 2018

Visit to Cameron House Chaplaincy