Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: In the sky, close to God

June 29, 2013 

It’s been nearly a week since Nik Wallenda went on the Discovery Channel and called on the name of Jesus 63 times and the Lord 39 times. Didn’t he do something else that night? Let’s see …

Oh yeah, he also walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. That’s kind of why he was praying so much.

The social media universe is still buzzing about Wallenda’s high-wire prayers. Some people, including people of other faiths and even atheists, found the broadcast to be encouraging and life-affirming.

Dean Norris, who plays the DEA agent on “Breaking Bad,” tweeted the following: “Regardless of religious belief or not, feel little happier bout life then had #wallenda kept saying thank you nihilists, life is meaningless.”

But it made other people really uncomfortable.

Some folks think we should leave God out of sports and entertainment. As the noted theologian Bobby Knight once noted, God doesn’t decide to !%!$@ a certain team because he thinks the other team loves Him more.

This line of thinking is probably why a clean-living, hard-working lad like Tim Tebow is such a polarizing figure.

But Nik Wallenda wasn’t kneeling in the end zone or thanking his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after winning the big game. Wallenda was kneeling on a cable and asking his Lord and Savior to make it stop swaying. He wasn’t calling on Jesus during a news conference, he was calling on Jesus to calm the wind before it blew him off the wire and caused him to plummet to his death.

Wallenda is by all accounts a cool customer, but clearly he was concerned for his life. When people are concerned for their life and they believe in something bigger than themselves, they tend to pray.

Then when they feel safe, the same people tend to pray less.

For example, while Wallenda was struggling to stay atop the wire, he was praying nearly constantly to God. When he was confident of the outcome, he started thanking the Discovery Channel.

A day before Wallenda’s triumph, the life of another daredevil came to an end. Jane Wicker, a 44-year-old wing walker from Virginia, had just flipped and perched herself on the underside of the wing of a plane that was flying upside down.

Almost immediately the wing dipped and hit the ground and the plane exploded.

Jane Wicker liked to say she became a wing walker after answering a newspaper ad — no experience was necessary. She was clearly a skilled stuntwoman.

She was also the mother of two boys and was engaged to a stuntman named Rock.

Joe Paull, one of our photographers here at the Ledger-Enquirer, met Wicker before the Thunder in the Valley Air Show in March.

“She wasn’t nervous about walking on the wing,” Paull said. “She was excited. It was what she loved to do. I think it gave her the feeling that she was really flying, and she said it was a great way to get a tour of each new city she visits.”

At the end, Jane Wicker had no time to say a prayer or make a speech. She was just doing the job she was called to do, with the wind in her hair and happiness in her heart.

That alone is a powerful testimony.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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