Monday, March 09, 2009

Man On Wire

Linda and I just the watched Oscar-winning documentary "Man On Wire," which is the story of French high-wire-walker Philippe Petit. In 1974 Pettite strung a 450 pound cable between the Twin Towers of NYC and walked back and forth 8 times. He lay down on the wire once, and knelt on it another time. The movie chronicles Petit wire-walking life leading up to that incredible feat.

I don't myself like heights, so watching this movie made me feel nervous. But I really was captivated by it. Petit's playful approach to life reminded me of Henri Nouwen's fascination with and study of circus aerial artists. Nouwen saw spiritual connections between what The Flying Wallendas did and living a life that followed after Christ. Karl Wallenda once said that "Being on the tightrope is living; everything else is waiting."

In 1968 Petit was waiting in a dentist's office reading a magazine and saw an article on the yet-unbuilt Twin Towers. He ripped the page out of the magazine and left the office with it, not making his appointment to fix his sore tooth. He now had a vision, one which he felt his entire life had prepared him for.

Life lived this way is life that is full and overflowing. The focus Petit had was amazing. If we followed after Jesus in the way Petit was purpose-driven we'd be more complete beings as well as more alive and playful.