Balance: A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line
High wire artist, Nik Wallenda joined the ranks of legendary daredevils when he became the first person ever to walk across the roaring Niagara Falls.
But Niagara is something else altogether. I’m not only stunned by its tremendous size, but thrilled to be facing an awesome sight that seems to have emerged from my dream. “I’ve been here before,” I tell my dad. “You must have seen pictures, son,” he says. “We’ve never been here before.” “I have.” Dad laughs off my remarks, but I cling to the memory. As we drive from the American side to Canada for a closer look at the rushing waters cascading some twenty stories down into the Niagara River, I relive my dream. My heart beats like crazy. I don’t feel at all crazy. I feel connected. I feel centered. I don’t know what to call these feelings. I don’t know how to describe the excitement coursing through me. I don’t know words like “destiny” and “purpose.” My parents have taught us that all good things come from God, so I do know that this sensation of being connected to my dreams has to be good. I know that God has to be at the center of my imagination that is constructing a wire across the Falls. In my mind, I see myself walking from one country to another. Even as a child, I realize that the vision isn’t mine. It has come to me in a dream. It has come to me from a relative I have never known. But now I am standing before it, my face wet from the spray of water. My eyes are wet with tears of joy. I know what I have to do. I know I will do it. But in doing it— not in a dream, not in the imagination of a child, but in real time before millions of television viewers the world over— I will require two and a half decades of learning. Those lessons engage the mind but mostly they engage the spirit. The lessons involve steely determination. Yet the source of that determination is God. Without Him, there is no journey, no lesson, no dream.
Look at the little kid in the backyard of his parents’ house in Sarasota, Florida. You won’t be impressed by the surroundings. Though his mom and dad are well‑ known circus performers and part of the legendary Wallenda clan, they live modestly. The scruffy working‑ class neighborhood has an almost rural feel. Scattered around the yard is the training gear— the various poles, posts, and bars— that aerialists use to hone their skills and develop new stunts. The object that captivates the kid is a cable some twenty‑ four inches off the ground strung between two stands. The kid is fi xated on the cable. The kid is barely two years old. The kid is me. My earliest and strongest memory is stepping out on the wire with the absolute conviction that I would walk across it. I have already seen my parents walk the high wire, an act that seems both wonderful and natural. Naturally I’m moved to do the same.