Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
September 24, 2000

Balcony people help us make it through the lonely nights

Life would be impossible without balcony people. Sometimes the nights are cold and lonely. We feel pressured from all sides. Our problems seem bigger than life. But somehow the balcony people help us to walk on.

Balcony people are so important because in everyoneís life there are basement people. The two terms are transparent. Balcony people are "up," and basement people are "down." The implication is clear. Balcony people pull us upward; basement people pull us downward.

Basement people may be people in our past or in our present. They may be dead or alive. Their influence in our lives is negative. They are the people who are always ready with a word of discouragement or criticism. They like to start conversations with phrases like this: "Please remember that we all need constructive criticism...." But what they call constructive criticism is actually destructive criticism that drags people down.

Memories 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: "Youíre so stupid that you will never amount to anything!" As that child tries to succeed as an adult, those words can become a scream from the basement that often frustrates achievement.

Balcony people, on the other hand, are the people who 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 that encourage you to believe in yourself.

The 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.

The challenge to every person is to pay as little attention as possible to oneís basement people while focusing more on oneís balcony cheerleaders. It helps to tell the basement people of your life that you will not allow them to ruin your day or spoil your life any longer.

Then give thanks for the balcony people, even if there are only a few of them. Listen to them and allow their encouragement to buoy your spirit. Think about how fortunate you are to have even a few people in your balcony.

Lately I have felt so blessed by the balcony people in my life that I can hardly hear what my basement people are saying. Maybe itís not so bad after all that I canít hear as well as I once did. I donít really have to hear the balcony people. I just look up, realize that they are cheering me on, and rejoice. Thatís when I realize that Iím too blessed to be depressed!