No Safety Net; No Harness


I watched as Nik Wallenda walked on a 2-inch-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon without a harness or a safety net.  I can’t count how many times I held my breath when the wind blew or he would seem unsure of the next steps.  My friend and I texted as we watched, wondering how much longer it would until he would reach safety on the other side.   The faces of those on either side of the tightrope were filled with apprehension and concern.   While viewers watched around the world, many questioned his reasoning for taking on something so dangerous without the aid of some type of safety device.

I think most of us have felt that we were walking a “tightrope” at some point in our lives.   That’s where I am right now.   One year ago, in July, I took those first steps out onto my tightrope.  I walked out in full confidence that I was prepared in every way for the journey.  I believed this was the path I was supposed to take.  I had a harness and a safety net in place.  I was afraid, but most things in life don’t come without some risk and willingness to follow an unknown path.

The thing is, once you are out on that rope, looking back can cause you to falter or even fall.  You have to focus on each step and keep moving toward safety on the other side.  When I stepped out, I couldn’t really see the other side.  I just knew I couldn’t stay on the edge of the cliff any longer.   Somewhere along the way, I lost my harness and my safety net.  I am out in the middle of the tightrope today, and I still can’t see the other side.  Things I had planned didn’t go the way  I believed they would go.   John Lennon’s song says, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

The part time job I counted on fell through and a second part time job did the same.  Several months of being ill ended in a short visit to the hospital.  Medical costs, paying for COBRA (health insurance), unexpected bills and car repairs depleted the savings that would take me until mid October when I would begin collecting Social Security Retirement.  For the first time in more years than I can count, I am without health insurance.   Safety net and harness are gone.

This morning I had the oil changed in my car.  The service person came out to tell me that my windshield wipers were separating and I needed new ones.  They would be happy to replace them for me.  I asked how much it would cost.  He shrugged and said, “Not very much at all.  It would only be about $30.”  I forced a smile and explained that  I couldn’t afford that right now. I stopped at the grocery store and spent a long time trying to decide what I could afford to buy today.  I am trying to eat healthy foods, but Twinkies and canned foods loaded with sodium are much less expensive.   A friend invited me to meet them at the water park today.  I had to say no.  I came home and tried to figure out how to budget for the rest of the month since I have car taxes and a parking ticket to pay.   Just as a sideline, the parking ticket was very unjust but that will be another blog post. I wonder if I will be able to afford my books when college classes start back mid-August.

Long ago, I promised myself that I would never be in a place like this again.  My friend JanF. was filled with wonderful saying.  She would remind me to “never say never because if you do, life will surely teach you a lesson about that. ”  Much like Nik Wallenda, I have people in my life who question my decision to step out on the tightrope.  They are the ones who believe I won’t make it to the other side and they are waiting to be able to say, “We told you so. ”   Like Nik Wallenda, I pray and believe that God is going to protect me and be with me throughout the journey.  And like Nik Wallenda, people ask, “How can you ask God to help you when you put yourself out on the tightrope?”

I sometimes say the same things to myself.  Yet, I am very grateful to now have a job.  It is part-time with no benefits (at least for now), but it is helping me maneuver this tightrope.  I am blessed to have family and friends who are cheering me on.  My daughter and her husband have opened their home and allowed me to share it with them.  My health is good, for now.   Someone is helping me with a plan to get my medications at a cost I can afford.   Right now, my car is running well with the exception of the windshield wipers.   Perhaps the tears I cry from time to time help keep the tightrope free of dust and debris, just as Nik “spat on his hands and rubbed it on the sole of his shoe for grip” when the cable gathered dust.”    Nik carried a 43 pound balancing pole.  Faith and prayer have become my balancing pole.

Maybe I was wrong in saying that I have no safety net or harness.  When the ones I had in place failed, it seems God provided new ones.   His may be much stronger and better than the ones I counted on to protect me.   I can’t let fear stop me from moving forward, one step at a time.  Nik talked about an earpiece that allowed his father to talk to him and encourage him as he walked across the tightrope.  I don’t have an earpiece, but if I listen closely, I can hear God talk to me and encourage me.  What better harness or safety net is there than that?


19 responses

  1. Yeah You! know what it feels like to be on the edge and know you have to do something. Know that you have prayers and support to do everything possible to come out on the other side. Love to you


    1. You have been on that tightrope before and may be heading out again. You have always been a great example for me of how to be strong and follow your heart. Love you!


  2. I know what that feels like. I said I’d never be back where I had to juggle bills and rely on cards, and I’m back there again. I am convinced that we will both come out of this to an even better place, financially. I wish you the best of luck with your tightrope walk 🙂


    1. Good luck to you too, Linda. I am sure you are right!


  3. You sound like a wonderfully strong person with the faith in The Lord that will carry you to the other side. I am currently walking my own tightrope and performing my own juggling act…….it’s not easy for sure. But with God “all things are possible”

    I have to figure out this whole blogging thing and figure out how to “follow” someones posts…….I am definitely interested in how your journey progresses!

    I would also love the opportunity to share my own circus act with you. Stop by if you get a chance!

    Have a blessed day!



  4. Cathy, Your blog was very moving. Being a 60ish age, and starting again is a big challenge for me. But the thing I’ve come to learn is we ALWAYS have a safety net when we ask for help. It’s amazing how many people, who you don’t even know, are there to help. I truly hope your job gives you the breathing space that can help get you feeling more safe, and able to move forward to your destination!


    1. You are right about asking. I just heard someone make that statement at a workshop last night. We have to take a risk and reach and ask for help.


  5. There is no better safety net then God. That says it all. Great post. Thanks!


  6. You’re going to make it. I truly believe that.


    1. Thanks, Jan. 🙂


    2. I decided to add to Jan’s comment, cuz I know her. 🙂 I believe it too. And I wonder if God Himself led you to the tightrope? A thought to consider when the critics criticize.


      1. Thanks Angie! I have asked myself the same question. Sometimes I even think I know the answer.


      2. Yesterday, a reader asked this on my blog, and it made me think of this post: “What’s your opinion on the thought that everything becomes smooth and effortless once you’re on the right path?”


      3. Just read the blog and the question the reader asked. In my life, I have found that being on the right path doesn’t always make things smooth and effortless. Sometimes it seems that those times are when I am challenged the most. In fact, I would guess this is one of those times. I believe in my heart that I am on the right path, but boy it is not smooth or effortless. Ok..I could keep going on this but I think another blog post might be in order….for both of us. Thanks, Angie.


  7. If anyone can make it,,,,you will be the one!


  8. Life itself is a tightrope.

    Sometimes, the wind blows. The cable rusts. Sometimes, it’s just clear skies and a strong cable beneath our feet. But it’s always an experience – the question is whether we’re still able to see the positive aspects of it, or get mired in the negative and lose our balance and fall.

    I’m glad that you have a loving family and faith – your safety net and your balancing pole will see you through, I know. This is a very well written post, Cathy, and a good reminder to the mired.


  9. Cathy, I have often heard it said that God will let us get to the end of our own strength so that we can learn to rely on him. I think that is where you are, learning to place your faith for your daily life firmly in his hands. This is something that I personally struggle with daily, I keep trying to take back my illusion of control and do things my own way. I will be praying for you and reading your posts closely to see where God is leading you. I know he has great things in store for you! 🙂


    1. Thanks Tamara. I love reading your posts as well. I think you are right about learning to rely on God and the people and things He places in my life!


  10. […] No Safety Net; No Harness ( […]


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