Passing from kitchen to living room this evening, I noticed Story was watching the movie The Walk again. She doesn’t watch many adult films but this one grabbed her attention. Last night, I showed it to the children for the first time. I thought they would be intrigued by the story of this young Frenchman who moved to New York City and staged a coup for the sake of performing an illegal high wire stunt between the Twin Towers. When the credits rolled at the end, Story was lying inches from the screen, transfixed. It got to her.
I took the children to work with me this morning as an act of bravery. I told them to each take something that could occupy their time in the car so they wouldn’t get bored. Story took a clip board with blank paper and something to draw with. As we were on our way, she pushed one of her pictures toward me so I could see her work. She had drawn two buildings with a wire stretched from one to the other. And, in the middle was Phillipe Petit on the wire, walking confidently.
When I noticed her watching it for the second time, this time alone, I made a comment about how happy I was she liked it. Then, she said the words that sent ice down my spine. And struck fear in my heart.
“Daddy, can we buy a wire so I can start practicing? I don’t want to give up. And, someday I can go to New York City and walk between those two big buildings.”
Gulp. Help! We have a serious dreamer on our hands. A reckless dreamer that wants to be up on the wire.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her in the moment that those two buildings were no longer standing. And, I didn’t have the nerve to say No.
As a father, her dreaming scares me a lot. Even now, she is wild and anarchistic at times where the other two are more compliant. She loves me. She loves holding my hand. She refuses to walk to class without me. But, she defies me constantly. And, she doesn’t even know it hurts me and I see it as disrespect. But, then again, she’s a dreamer. Maybe I’m not understanding her.
Her dreaming makes me happy, too, as I think about the journey before us. Before her. As we prepare for a new life in Italy, my heart beats with supreme joy for all of them. My worldview was happily small when I was a boy. I didn’t think about the world at large. I thought about the woods and made that world my kingdom. But, thanks to God, I am able to unleash three starry-eyed dreamers on the world. Through the door that is Christ, the world belongs to them.
I think of Story asking me to buy her a tight rope, and then think of a question God told His children to ask in Psalm 2:8…
“Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession.”
Just ask. This is a lesson for a father from my Heavenly Father. As I wince at the ridiculous thought of purchasing a tightrope for Story, God tells me without any hesitation, “You can ask for the nations, my boy.”
He would give me that? It seems unthinkable that God would even suggest such a wild notion for the dreamers to grab onto. Asking for the nations. What could be more ridiculous! Yet here it is. Inspired. God-breathed. The heart of God in words through the Psalmist. Ask me for the nations. I won’t refuse. And, I won’t let my the thought of your danger keep me from giving them to you.
How can I as a human parent live up to this kind of giving? Looking ahead, I can only see that I have been already outmatched as a father. God has given Story the nations. The least I can do is muster up the courage to let her walk on the wire.
I know the greatest work we will ever hope to do in Italy is sending out our little dreamers. It will not be easy. We will beg for strength as we want to protect them. But,then again, God will be with them. Leading them. Supporting them. Helping them. And we will clap from the ground as they bow from the wire.