Not long before his death, Henri Nouwen wrote a book called Sabbatical Journeys, in which he wrote about some friends of his who were trapeze artists, called the Flying Roudellas. They told Nouwen that there is a special relationship between the flyer and the catcher on the trapeze. This relationship is governed by important rules, such as “The flyer is the one who lets go, and the catcher is the one who catches.” As the flyer swings on the trapeze high above the crowd, the moment comes when he must let go. He flings his body out in mid-air. His job is to keep flying and wait for the strong hands of the catcher to take hold of him at just the right moment. One of the Flying Roudellas told Nouwen, “The flyer must never try to catch the catcher.” The flyer’s job is to wait in absolute trust. The catcher will catch him, but he must wait.
Nouwen said, “Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting.” Waiting is not a static state, it is a time when God is working behind the scenes, and the primary focus of his work is on us.