In Others’ Words: Wired

highwire Wallenda quote 9.20.13

So … are you waiting? Or are you on the wire? What gets you off the platform of “safe” and out on the wire, risking it all? 

Life is being on the wire — are you?  Click to Tweet

Are you waiting or living? Click to Tweet 

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  1. September 20, 2013, 7:26 am   /  Reply

    This has a particular resonance for me. I was sixteen when I learned to fly. At eighteen, already bored with civilian flying, I decided to liven up my day by flying very low and fast down a dry riverbed.

    Unfortunately, I did not realize that people put power lines across rivers, and I collected a face-full of 250,000 volt main transmission lines. The airplane was damaged but flyable. I was damaged as well, and had a fifteen-minute flight back to the airport – waiting for a wing to fall off, or for a smoldering fire to come to life and cremate me in midair. A long time to think.

    It was then that I realized that the wire is no place to be, unless forced by circumstance. All the things I really loved about life were lived in the ‘waiting’ (and that included aspects of flying that still delight me today). Going out on the wire did not let me ‘savor their sweetness’ all the more; it had only made them seem pale in comparison to the adrenaline rush. There was no upside; the wire could only destroy the aspects of life I loved, or leave me at a stalemate.

    I didn’t quit flying, and I didn’t become risk-averse. Indeed, I have a reputation for having a loose hold on life, and a looser one on common sense and self-preservation. But it’s not entirely fair…I accept the wire as necessary in the fulfillment of certain desired objectives. But that’s all.

    I don’t stay up there and enjoy the view.

    I done scratched that itch.

    • September 20, 2013, 7:56 am   /  Reply

      Interesting perspective, Andrew — and why am I not surprised that you provided one?
      I absolutely see your point about taking needless risks, taking unwise risks … but I still embrace the truth of this quote by Wallenda. For him, the wire was a safe(r) place to be. He trained to walk the wire. It was his passion. If he’d trained and trained and trained and trained — and then never stepped out on the wire — he would have wasted time and energy — his life.
      You kept flying after that low and fast along the riverbed. You still adventure. You also continue risking — but you risk wiser.

      • September 20, 2013, 3:55 pm   /  Reply

        I’m with you on that. Risks as part of a worthwhile goal are vital to our authenticity as individuals.

        I’ve often said that my last words will be “Hey, dude, watch THIS!”, and they probably will be…but taking a risk for its own sake is silly (and I’m speaking more of physical risk), because it usually means pushing past one’s own training and ability.

        Karl Wallenda didn’t do that – he trained incessantly. In the end he was killed by a gust of wind, but that was one of the ‘imponderables’ that an excess of training usually allowed him to master.

        I wonder if God is letting him stretch wires between the pinnacles of Heaven?

  2. September 20, 2013, 7:31 am   /  Reply

    I lived long ago in a place where we had to cross a stream via a log over top. That necessity taught me a good life principle. With practice I learned not to look at the log, but straight ahead to my goal, never to stop and study the log and look down, or I’d get dizzy and … I got to where I could even carry frightened school kids on my back over that log. and in the jungles of S. America, crossed a log over a piranha-filled stream w/ no problem. It didn’t matter what was underneath; I had learned to look only ahead.

    • September 20, 2013, 7:57 am   /  Reply

      Yet another glimpse at your a-ma-zing life, Dee. And I love the symbolism of staring straight ahead at your goal — not at the obstacle — and how you were even able to help someone else across that log. Lot of truth tucked into your comment today.

  3. September 20, 2013, 8:42 am   /  Reply

    What an interesting quote, Beth. I think right now, I’m on the wire, stepping out in faith as I strive to finish my book. Stepping out in faith in my relationship with God too. He’s been sharing some things with me, and I’m stepping out to live in them, if that makes sense.

    And, I guess I hung by a wire (or a cable) when I went ziplining a couple weeks ago. I’m seeking to live with a mind toward adventure, rather than staying safe because of fear.

  4. September 20, 2013, 12:23 pm   /  Reply

    The “waiting” vs. “living” aspect of this quote really jumped out at me. I’ve lived in “tomorrow” so much of my life. I think we all do until we finally come to terms with enjoying “today,” whatever it brings. I’m much more at peace when I do that!

    Great to get to meet you in Indy, Beth!!!

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