Altar Call –
June 29, 2008
Give a few cheers for the
balcony people in your life
a deep breath and give a few cheers for your balcony people. You would be
miserable without them. They are as necessary as air and water.
are balcony people? They are easy to recognize. They are never “on your back.”
They are real. They are not superficial. They tell you the truth but always in
an uplifting way.
people never say, “I need to give you some constructive criticism.” Those words
are usually a prelude to a stinging rebuke from someone who wants to “stick it
to you.” Calling it “constructive criticism” is their way of sugar-coating and
justifying their scolding. Balcony people almost never begin a sentence by saying,
“I love you but….”
what is the opposite of balcony people? You guessed it – basement people. They
too are easy to recognize. They are the ones who believe they are on a special
mission from God to offer “constructive criticism” to the poor souls who do not
measure up to their standards.
people and basement people are in everyone’s life. I suppose there is a third
category, people who may be called the porch people. They are not cheering for
you. They are not on your back. They are simply indifferent. They are wrapped
up in their own apathy. They don’t care.
They are out on the porch.
descriptions are actually transparent. Balcony people are "up;"
basement people are "down;" and porch people are “out of the picture”
or “off the screen.” The implication is clear. Balcony people pull us upward. Basement
people pull us downward. And porch people don’t give a rip.
challenge is to focus on our balcony people. They are the ones who help us make
it when the hardships of life are overwhelming. Somehow they save us from
giving up when life, like war, is hell. They do this in simple ways. Being a
balcony person is not rocket science. Last Sunday a sweet friend gave my wife a
new purse for no reason but love. On the side of the purse were the words, “Too
blessed to be stressed.” My wife’s face lit up like the morning sun.
people are not difficult to identify. They may be people in the past or the
present. They may be dead or alive. Their influence is negative. They are
always ready with a word of discouragement or criticism. They have perfected
the art of “constructive criticism." They can drag you down in a heartbeat
– but only if you allow it. You don’t have to allow it. You have a choice.
of basement people tend to reside in the murky water of our subconscious minds.
Their words stay with us and haunt us. An example might be the angry comment of
a parent to a child: "You’re so stupid that you will never amount to
anything!" As that child tries to succeed as an adult, those words become a
scream from the basement that frustrates achievement.
people have a positive influence in our lives. They are the ones who write you
a note to compliment you on a job well done or offer you words of praise. They
encourage you to believe in yourself – even when you have made a mess of
things. They help you pick up the pieces and try again.
expression "balcony" conveys the beautiful idea that these persons
are above us, leaning over the balcony of life to cheer us on. Their characteristic
phrase is, "You can do it," and "You have what it takes."
Without them few of us can ever do our best at anything.
little attention to your basement people. Instead focus on your balcony
cheerleaders. Let them know how much they mean to you. Enjoy them. On the other
hand, refuse let your basement people ruin your day. Assert yourself. Tell the
basement people to get off your back. Decide today that you will not allow them
to spoil your life any longer.
thanks for the balcony people even if they are few in number. Listen to them
and allow their encouragement to buoy your spirit. Think about how blessed you
are to have them in your balcony.
I feel so blessed by my balcony people that I can hardly hear what my basement
people are saying. Maybe it’s not so bad after all that I can’t hear as well as
I once did. I don’t really have to hear the balcony people. I just look up,
realize that they are cheering me on, and rejoice. That’s when I realize that I’m
too blessed to be depressed or stressed! Glory! + + +