Tightrope and Life

Why would anyone CHOOSE to walk a tightrope over the Grand Canyon?  I was spellbound by the idea, and I was happy for him that he had such confidence, but the man had a beautiful wife and several young children!

When I was fourteen, my father suddenly died of a heart attack. What a searing wound that left in me…for many, many years! Nick Wallenda’s children were very aware of his plan. The media, of course, was hyping the event to the max. It felt like I was about to take a walk into a lion’s den, or become a spectator at a bullfight where someone was about to be gored to death. I changed the television station.

I hoped that Mr. Wallenda would walk the tightrope successfully. I hoped there would be no unexpected wind gusts or dust storms to challenge him further. But I still didn’t understand why, when he had such a beautiful family, he would dare to jeopardize it? Or their emotional health for years to come?

I flipped back to the station. What draws us to even consider watching such activity? Wallenda had begun the walk. Of course, the camera crews were now getting into the act by panning the scenery quickly to make it appear as though the background was spinning. No!  I was going to listen to classical music instead. I would NOT watch a live telecast of a man who crazily – and, I think, selfishly – wanted to test his mettle against Mother Nature!

I hoped that, when I woke up the next morning, Nick Wallenda would have successfully completed his walk. I suspected that his wife and children would by then be extraordinarily grateful he was alive. Perhaps he would feel… accomplished?

I hoped (perhaps futilely) that Nick Wallenda would – somehow – receive a wake-up call to let him know that life is precious. I wondered if he had any idea how traumatizing it would have been for his children to watch him plunge to his death?

You can call it a need for publicity. You can call it insanity. Perhaps circus performers live by different guidelines. I, however, call it a senseless, self-gratifying, and extremely thoughtless act. I feel sad for all that he has already put his family through. I am angered by his selfishness. And I am put off by him calling on the name of the Lord all the while he did this unnecessary and foolish deed.

But yes, I believe life should be treasured – even Nick Wallenda’s.

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.