Story of the Day for Wednesday May 23, 2012
Scared Spitless But Willing to Trust
Whenever I’m afraid, I will trust in you.
If you ever find a job opening for the position of aerialist manager, you might want to learn about Harry Colcord before you call for an interview.
But let’s leave Harry Colcord in his manager’s office for a moment while we focus on the wacky antics of Jean Francois Gravelot, a French aerialist who, because of his fair hair, called himself The Great Blondin. While touring with P.T. Barnum in 1858, he saw Niagara Falls for the first time and knew he had to cross it . . . on a tightrope.
The next year he stretched a 1300-foot rope 160 feet above the roaring falls, while 10,000 anxious spectators watched as he walked across. For two summers, Blondin repeated his stunt – each time making his crossing more breathtaking. He crossed on a bicycle. Next, with his feet chained together. He did it blindfolded; he did it on stilts.
Before Blondin left Niagara Falls for other things, he needed a Grand Finale – a climactic stunt that would top his previous heart-stopping acts. He knew what would thrill the crowds: he would cross the falls with another person sitting on his shoulders.
But no one would volunteer to make the crossing.
And now, at last, we can drag Harry Colcord out of his manager’s office. You’ll have to excuse him for looking so pale, but he doesn’t feel very well at the moment. No one could be found to cross Niagara Falls on Blondin’s shoulders . . . and, as they say, the show must go on.
With 10,000 spectators watching, Blondin held his 35-foot balancing pole, and his manager on his back, and started across Niagara Falls.
It’s so easy to trust others when you’re just a spectator. Unfortunately, the Lord never lets you sit comfortably in the back row of the auditorium. He’s always calling you onstage. Faith is lived when we’re scared spitless, but still willing to trust in the calm assurances of the Lord.
Blondin walked twenty feet to the first guy rope, but it snapped, jerking them violently sideways. Blondin quickly ran to the next guy rope and told Harry to get off his shoulders quick. Colcord had to feel with his feet for the vibrating rope and hold on for dear life to his slippery tights, while Blondin rested and regained his composure.
And then a gust of wind caused the two of them to sway – terrifying the crowd. Other guy ropes failed (reporters later learned that the guy lines were deliberately sabotaged). Blondin, realizing the danger, sprinted the last twenty yards, and plunged into the crowd with his human passenger.
After this stunt, I think we can reasonably assume that Harry Colcord had great job security. When you dare to live the life of faith, the competition thins.