Get into that Wheelbarrow!

September 12, 2015 | Monastic Musings

Reflections from some of the nuns

Sometimes I hear a story that takes my breath away. This was one. Do you want to know – or perhaps you do know – what the difference is between faith and trust?

There is a circus in town and you are sitting in the front row of a big top. High, high up there is a tight rope strung across the roof of the tent. On this night the tightrope walker is going to perform an amazing, death defying feat. Without a safety net beneath, she will walk back and forth across the tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow before her.

You have faith that she will do this. Perhaps you have seen it done before. You know that this is a professional, skilled performer who would not be attempting this feat if it was not possible, even if it seems not possible. Yes, you believe this is possible as you sit securely with your feet on the ground, gazing up into the high top. You have faith that she will safely reach the other side.

You know that you have trust however, when you are prepared to climb up there and get into the wheelbarrow!

This story packs a wallop and challenges me to consider how much, really how much I remain trusting that my God is in control of the wheelbarrow that is my daily life. My job is simply to remain in the wheelbarrow, to breathe, to enjoy the ride and perhaps the view.

It is God who is in possession of the skill and expertise, the experience and the desire to get me safely to the other side. I know through bitter experience the disasters that occur when I cause distraction by yelling out directions and suggestions to the Expert or, even more catastrophically, when I jump out of that wheelbarrow and try to push it across myself!

A sadder sight comes to my mind thinking on those times when I refuse to respond to the invitation to get into the wheelbarrow at all. I can sit safely down below without ever taking any risks. I can believe with all my being that God can push the wheelbarrow across the tightrope. But unless I actually get into it I can never experience the exhilaration that this exercise of trust in the power and care and love of God imparts.



Sr Magdalen Mather osb