By my ankles,
To your knees
As you hang
By your nose
From a high-up
But just one thing, please,
As we float through the breeze--
Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite poets. I love the whimsy mixed with life lessons. In all honesty, I can’t help but smile as I read the poems.
I feel that most of my life has been living on a trapeze. Swinging from one bar to another. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with a partner. No matter what though, you must keep moving and swinging. The momentum from one event flows to another. Hold on tight but not too tight. The rhythm must be perfect. It requires faith that when it all goes wrong there will be a net at the bottom.
The most important piece of equipment for a trapeze artist. And it is often the most taken for granted and neglected piece.
The hope is that you will never need it, but the moment you do, it is critical to survival. A few months ago the timing in my life failed. I sneezed and fell from my flying trapeze. The shock was staggering, but it dissipated. Then I was falling and the panic emerged. What will be at the bottom? What will stop the fall? And then it happened…I bounced on the net. There were a lot of people waiting below to make sure I landed safely from my fall. The experience of being caught by all the people who see my value is amazing.
I want to be humble about the net saying ‘I can’t believe the people who are there for me,’ but that is untrue. I have worked hard on my net. It is valuable to me and always has been. I think maintaining friendships and relationships is the cornerstone of life. In the end it will not matter what car I drive, what my house looks like, or even what my children accomplish. What will matter is the love I have spread. What will matter is my strong net.
Now as I climb back up my ladder to begin swinging on the trapeze again, I am careful to note the condition of my net. I used it heavily, and I am sure it is worn thin in parts. For me, my net has 3 distinct components: the pillars holding the net, the inner portion of the net, and the outer portion of the net.
The pillars are my main support. The keep the net taunt and prevent it from hitting the ground. No matter how nice the net is, if it is unsupported it will do me no good. For me, my pillars are my parents, my faith, and a few longtime friends. I know what you are thinking…what about your spouse? In truth, he is not part of my net because I see him as swinging by his knees from the trapeze right alongside me. I cannot anchor myself to a swinging trapeze.
The inner net is where you aim to land as you fall. It needs to be the strongest part because it will bear the initial impact. These are my good friends. The ones who show up when I call. They are the ones who are quick to reassure me of my worth and value. They are strong and refuse to let me fall even when I don’t want to remain on the net.
Finally is the outer part of the net. This is the large encompassing circle that keeps the inner net together and lashes to the posts. In many ways it is the sets of mutual friends with my inner network. It is also the commonality that binds me to my inner net.
All of these parts require tending. Not one single person in my net would ever complain about being there for me. But now as I begin to climb back on the trapeze, I have more to give to those in my net. I have the ability to start holding strong again as someone else’s net.
Who is your net? When you have used the net, how do you repair it?