Lessons from Life – The Trapeze and Skiing

As we sat on the step in my living room the young man discussed his dilemma.
He was currently employed in a major retail store and was considering a new vocation. After listening to his story I suggested that he was like the circus trapeze artist only in his case he was trying to hold on to both trapeze bars and the only way to release the tension and stress was to let go one bar.
This all happened many years ago. More recently I sent an email to the “young man” now married with children and the senior pastor of an active regional church.
I wrote, G’day, I’m reading Philip Yancey’s Where Is God When It Hurts? and I came across this at the end of chapter 9, An analogy used by Paul Tournier came to mind…He said the Christian life resembles a trapeze act. You can swing on the bar, exercising and building muscles all you want. But if you want to improve and excel, you have to take risks. You have to let go, knowing that nothing is beneath you, and reach out for the next trapeze bar.”

His reply came a few days later, Great to hear from you, thank you for the email and great word. Sure is scary though…Great to know we have a God that won’t let us fall/sink. I love this, that immediately Jesus reached out for Peter…He still had to get out of the boat and walk on the water…

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
Matthew 14:28-32
An even more recent appointment with a client revealed another lesson. The client had just returned from an exciting trip with her family to the snow fields at Thredbo. The fields were excellent with lots of snow. One particular morning she set out for the slopes with her ski coach to learn how to ski on soft snow.
A previous experience of skiing soft snow in Japan had not gone well and now She was quite anxious.
At the top of the snow the coach aware of her anxiety encouraged her and took the time to explain the different technique for soft snow. Rather than wider and shorter arcs soft snow required narrower and longer arcs to maintain speed and balance. The coach drew the different techniques in the snow with his ski pole.
The first couple of attempts still using the previous technique confirmed everything the coach had said speed and balance were difficult to maintain. The next attempt with adjustment to the arc the slope became more manageable and by the end of the day she walked away exhilarated. She had faced her fears, overcome her anxiety and experienced the exhilaration of skiing the slopes covered in soft snow.
The contrast in her feelings before and after the coaching session was remarkable, anxiety to the point of fear and tension became excitement, relation and exhilaration at the end of the day.
Jesus is our master coach and he wants us to experience life to the full. Trust him. Let go of the trapeze!