One of my favorite poems (ok maybe it’s my very favorite, though I do love me some Pablo Neruda!) is Small Wire by Ann Sexton
My faith is a great weight hung on a small wire, as doth the spider hang her baby on a thin web, as doth the vine, twiggy and wooden, hold up grapes like eyeballs, as many angels dance on the head of a pin. God does not need too much wire to keep Him there, just a thin vein, with blood pushing back and forth in it, and some love. As it has been said: Love and a cough cannot be concealed. Even a small cough. Even a small love. So if you have only a thin wire, God does not mind. He will enter your hands as easily as ten cents used to bring forth a Coke.
I’m struck and hooked by how clearly Sexton illustrates the struggle we all have with Faith – that having Faith in God is believing in a mystery, but that mystery is ready, willing, and forthcoming, and will come into your life and bless you if you just let Him.
That believing in and loving and serving that mystery – seems hard, practically impossible even. But that no matter how “twiggy” and brittle and thin our faith, God is THERE and he “does not mind” if we are weak.
He will enter your hands easily and bless your life with abundance, as a coke falls from the vending machine. It’s that simple. If you let God in, he will BE THERE.
So, Why Don’t We Participate?
God’s love and grace are beautiful, so why do we not participate fully? I had Sexton’s Small Wire poem in my mind as I read the latest blog post at Mom Heart Online this week. In How to Be a Mom of Action Kat wrote about trying to be a mom of action, and learning to trust God and jump in when He calls us, no matter how scary the action that He calls us to.
She depicts our relationship of action with God with an anecdote about a famous tightrope walker who faced a totally silent crowd when he asked for a volunteer to join him in his demonstration, rolling a wheelbarrow over the Grand Canyon Gorge on a 1100 foot tightrope.
They had seen him do incredible things. He never faltered. Yet, to them, the risk was too great.
Kat writes that this story “punched [her] in the gut. . . the world of difference between saying we believe in something and actually having the faith to take action.”
Even though the crowd bellowed “We believe! We believe you can do it!” just moments before, they balked at the chance to experience the amazement first hand, because they were all afraid of falling. The fear of being dependent upon the tightrope walker’s skill stopped his believers in their tracks when he beckonned them to participate in his feat.
Just as our fears stop us from participating in God’s demonstrations.
I’m not saying that I would jump into a tightrope walker’s wheelbarrow for a ride over the Grand Canyon. But it’s a great illustration of how we allow our fears to keep us from fully participating in God’s greatness and in His demonstrations of unconditional Love.
If we want our children to follow in our steps of faith, then we need to move beyond our own safety and comfort. We need to follow where He leads and not just where we want to go.
We need to be brave. We need to trust and we need to be willing to risk our pride, our image, and our security.
Embracing Participation in God’s Grace
We can profess to believe, we can talk to God, and we can even act in accordance with God’s laws. But if we don’t actually trust him enough to “jump in the wheelbarrow” when he invites us to and participate in God’s demonstrations of grace, we aren’t getting as much out of our relationship with him (or giving as much back to His Kingdom) as we are able.
Not to say that fear is shameful. Fear is natural, and we all have fear about following and joining in with God’s demonstrations in our lives. But fear is holding us back.
My Action Challenge.
I’m personally realizing that I need to allow my faith to inspire me to participate in God’s demonstrations: most recently, the demonstration of forgiveness.
I know that forgiveness is the right thing, the healthy thing, and the action that God calls me toward. But I’m afraid.I’m afraid to forgive – because I’m worried that forgiving those who have scared, scarred, and harmed my family will somehow give them the upper hand.
He’s holding out the invitation to me: “Who wants to get in the wheelbarrow!?” and I’m standing silent and frozen at the edge of the gorge, with the ringing of joyous “We believe!” shouts lingering in the air. I’m standing there, hesitating, Knowing that it’s the right thing to participate, but scared of the loss that I might face.
For which demonstration has God been calling out for your participation?
What do you think is holding you back from “jumping in the wheelbarrow” and being a Mom of Action?
How do you illustrate your faith?