Sword Swallower Dan Meyer’s Official Blog
Ever had one of those days when everything went wrong and it felt like somebody was out to get you?
Last Friday I got to experience the performer’s WORST nightmare ever…
All last week I’d been sick in bed with malaria fever (relapse from India) combined with some kind of bronchial/sinus infection crud. On Friday morning I medicated myself up with a bunch of Dayquil, TheraFlu and Mucinex, drove to the Indy airport, and boarded my flights to Atlanta and then on to Roanoke VA.
The flights all went fine, and when I landed in Roanoke, my host met me at the baggage claim.
“I am SO glad you made it!” he said. “The past several years something has ALWAYS gone wrong with this event so that speakers couldn’t make it, had vehicles break down, and equipment didn’t arrive! I am SO glad you made it! Do you ever have any problem flying with your swords?”
“No, no problem at all,” I said confidently as we waited for my luggage to arrive. “I’ve been really blessed that my swords and luggage have always made it on every flight! Knock on wood. Oops… maybe I shouldn’t say that too early until after my luggage arrives.”
At that moment the baggage claim belt came to a complete stop. And my bag was NOT on the belt.
We both looked at each other and blinked in disbelief.
At the Delta baggage counter, they told us that my bag missed the Atlanta flight and would be arriving on the 10:27pm flight… about 2 hours AFTER my 8:00 show was over.
We looked at each other and tried to come up with a Plan B.
After a few quick phone calls, we managed to find a little kiosk in the nearby mall that sold some sai swords and a small but wide and very sharp dagger. After a quick test to see if I could swallow the sai (”Wow, you just made my day!”, the shop keeper exclaimed), we grabbed those two swords and made a quick run to Home Depot to buy a hammer, nails, hedge clippers, grinder, sand paper, lightbulb, fly swatters, and a few other things to try to improvise an impromptu show in the next 2 hours.
For the next few hours, we sweated in my host’s garage desperately grinding, filing, sanding, and preparing props in hopes of throwing together a show. A friend brought over a very large and very sharp curved Japanese kitana sword that was I was not at all sure that I could swallow. We grinded, filed and sanded everything as we could. I managed to make a set of fire-eating torches from the fly swatters and some cotton cloth, but after we soaked them in the fuel and tried to light them… absolutely NOTHING happened! The fuel would NOT light at all. The flames licked around the torch like it was fire-proof and would NOT catch on fire, much less make a dramatic flame like I needed. It appeared that the fuel they bought had been contaminated with water and simply would NOT light. So we tried Charcoal lighter fluid… again, the flame just danced AROUND the torch heads and would NOT light at all.
Then we tried to import my background music tracks into his computer. Error. Disc cannot be read. We tried to load the files from my thumb drive. Only 6 of the 17 files loaded.
“What’s going on here!?” I said as we looked at each other and scratched our heads. “It’s like someone has put together a conspiracy against us and does not want tonight’s program to go on!” We just shook our heads and knew someone did not want this program to happen. Another barrage of prayers and rebuking the enemy.
Finally we were ready to go on. Glance at watch: 7:59. Just in time for 8:00 show. Quick prayer of submission - this was NOT about me, and I definitely needed to remove myself from the equation. We prayed that God would move in spite of me being sick, in spite of unique circumstances where it seemed like everything was going wrong, in spite of me, period. This is NOT about me. Never is. The swords and fire are just attention-getters and the entire show has to be focused on pointing the audience to HIM and for His glory. This is my normal prayer before each show, but this show, it really had even much more impact.
And of course, tonight would be the time when the local TV stations would come to film when I had none of my own props, my costume was still in my suitcase, and the shirt I had been fevering in all day was soaked in sweat and I looked like death warmed over. Oh well. “It’s not about ME,” I reminded myself.
“When I am weak, then is HE strong… ” I prayed during the introduction. “Less of me and more of You… This is for YOUR glory, not mine…” I prayed as the introduction ended.
The show itself went relatively well. The torches lit and the fire-eating went well. Human blockhead went well too even though the nail was about twice as big as what I normally use. And all the swords and hedge clippers went down without cutting up my throat too badly. But what was really incredible was that the kids in the audience sat with their mouths wide-open through the entire message.
I ended my message with my normal statement that had even more impact tonight. “How many of you would like to see a real miracle here tonight? The incredible thing is not that I can swallow steel swords… That’s just a crazy stunt that anyone can do with enough practice. The incredible thing, the real miracle is that God can take a scared, shy, skinny, wimpy kid from Indiana who was filled with fears and work a miracle to do the impossible in his life to transform him… And if he can do it for a scared, shy, skinny kid from Indiana, then he can do it in YOU too. When you submit it all to Him, he can take your mess and make it into His message. When you give him your talents, he can turn them into his tools. When you give him your pride, He can give you humility and work real miracles in your life. When you crucify your dreams, he can turn them into his vision for your life. When you give him your submission, He can turn your life around and turn it into your mission. He That’s the real miracle tonight!”
You could hear a pin drop, and the entire room was filled with the awesome sound of children’s and adult’s voices as they prayed the “Sword Swallower’s Prayer” with me. What an awesome impact on so many lives. The worst show of my life was also the most impactful moment of my life.
What a blessing to talk to the kids and hear their stories and testimonies after the event. Many of the kids said it was a show they would NEVER forget.
I know it was one show I will NEVER forget!
“When I am weak, then is He strong.”
Thanks, Dan for the most memorable night in my kids life so far! While I didn’t get to see the show (I was upstairs with the preschoolers), my kids have relived every moment for me in detail. After sharing your “behind the scenes” ordeal with them, the show meant that much more. Your perseverance in His name had as much impact as the actual performance. I’m sure all the other parents, members and visitors to our church will join me in saying, we will never forget this show for many, many reasons. Thank you for your willingness to be used for His glory even under the enemy’s attack. We were truly changed by your visit. May God continue to bless your ministry!