When I was too young to know any better I told my parents that when I grew up I was planning to be a tricker–one who did tricks.
The circus can have that sort of inspiring effect on a child. A distant relative in my family actually was in the circus; on the high wire. How funny to think my love of climbing to high limbs and sitting on counters is literally in my blood.
I’ve always loved watching the catcher in a baseball game. So many seem to think the game pivots around the pitcher, but I’ve found the catcher is the one who seems to know more completely what’s going on, what’s at risk, and who to protect. A good catcher announces every play, keeping the team moving forward as one.
The catcher, often, becomes the one we trust. And trust is something that is often difficult to grasp.
Observes Nouwen today:
“There were five South African trapeze artists [at this circus], three flyers and two catchers, and they danced in the air! I was fascinated and told my father that I thought I’d missed my vocation, that what I’d always really wanted to do was to fly like that. …The leader recently said to me, ‘Henri, everyone applauds for me because when I do those leaps and back flips, they think I’m the hero. But the real hero is the catcher. The only thing I have to do is stretch out my hands and trust, trust that he’ll be there to pull me back up.’ …It is trust that remains. Trust that when you come down from a triple somersault, your catcher will be there to pull you right back up again. …Stretch out your hands and trust the God of life.”
God as the divine catcher. Now there’s an image I can hold onto.