Maybe I’m in the black, maybe I’m on my knees
Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapezes
But my heart is beating and my pulses start
Cathedrals in my heart
– Coldplay: from “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall”
Allow me to diverge from the usual topic of orphan care and to consider a past revelation of note. This freeing epiphany came in the midst of an ordinary day, while a Coldplay song played in the background, one I had heard at least a hundred times before. In retrospect, what God showed me should not have seemed original at all. Yet, like how one may be captured anew by the sight of a uniquely brilliant sunset on a perfect evening, sometimes what is familiar can suddenly be pregnant with new meaning. My heart appraised that which is valuable again in a new way, and that changed me inside. I believe with personal reflection on your own life, there might be a message to you as well that could make you live differently.
I heard the verse above with new ears, and what arrested me was the second line. A quick Google search for the lyrics confirmed the words and that led me to think about what Chris Martin might have meant when he penned them. Taken in the context of the whole verse, it seemed to me that he was defending his way of living his life somehow. Two lines starting with ‘maybe’, then one with “but” look like he has a point to make. I think the first line signifies a lack of being completely sure of what is coming (“in the black”), but still being willing to trust God (“on my knees”).
But it is in the next metaphor that the thinking really started for me. What does it mean to be “in the gap between the two trapezes”? A trapeze artist begins by launching himself from a small platform high on a tower, while hanging on to a metal crossbar suspended by cords from above. He whips his body back and forth to create momentum, swinging to the highest possible arc before releasing his grip on the tiny bar. Then, after sailing through space for a few brief seconds, often while doing a series of twists and turns commensurate with his skill level and courage, he is caught by another trapeze artist (the catcher) swinging on the other side. The trapeze artist can be taking a great risk, but often there is a large safety net in place below in case of any desire to abort the stunt.
In order for one to be in the gap between the two trapezes, there must be a willingness to let go of the first bar. What a great way to live a life – soaring, spinning, trusting that the timing will be perfect and a firm hold awaits at the other end of the joyful yet dangerous passage. Sadly most never let go of the first bar and they instead slowly lose momentum, their arc lessening with each successive swing as they watch the opportunity to leap pass them by. In not letting go, they miss the death defying and glorious middle, where true life really is, and eventually drop carefully down to the net in “safety”. It is out in the gap where I believe we as Christ followers are meant to be, because there we are both free, and most visible to an audience waiting for someone with the courage to take the Catcher at His word.
H.D. Thoreau once said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” To live freely, using the gifts God uniquely gave you, instead of following a stale pattern like the world does, is to be truly alive. You have been given tricks to do in the gap, and no one else can do those tricks quite like you. There is nothing to fear in the vast untethered void, because God’s strong unfailing hands will one day reach across that last bit of space to catch your tired ones on the other side.
And Chris Martin seems to understand something else in the last line. When he lives like this, his “heart is beating”, a symbol of his being fully alive. But also his “pulses start cathedrals in his heart”. If that is not worship, then nothing is. I want to live my life with a heart fully alive, in such a way that there is worship in the deepest place- my heart. I believe that comes by trusting God, even when I’m in the black on some things, and living freely for Him anyway.
I think I started that process in 2008 when I left for Kenya, and let go of the safe feeling of holding on to that first bar. I have continued to enjoy the liberating sense of knowing for sure that God told me to jump, that He is helping me fight through the fear of flying, and that He is teaching me the safety net is just an illusion.
Are you holding on too tightly to a bar in your life? Are you afraid of the gap he is calling you to soar through for the brief moment in time called your life? Do you think the safety net is for real? The audience is watching, and you have a few feats of skill to amaze them with before the show ends. The Catcher will not fail you with his grasp. So swing high and jump and…let’s all meet on the other side and laugh about it one day.
To learn more about the wonderful vision behind Naomi’s Village, read SCH Contributor, Raschelle Loudenslager story, Hope Begins When a Child Belongs
To learn more about what you can do help, or how to get involved please visit Naomi’s Village
Learn more about the situation in Kenya, God’s Global Family – Call to Prayer