Like a bridge over troubled waters.

When I drove home from work today, and the wind attempted to push my Chevy Tracker (which is unfortunately shaped much like a box kite) off the Sherman Minton Bridge, it occurred to me that I don’t think I’ve ever told you about bridges.

I’m horribly afraid of bridges.

When I was about four or five years old, we went to See Rock City and Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  If you’ve never been there, it’s a pair of tourist attractions in the Smoky Mountains. There’s a swinging rope bridge over a pretty deep canyon–I watched my dad cross it.  My overactive imagination went into overdrive, picturing a number of gruesome and unlikely outcomes.  I was terrified of bridges after that.

I live in Indiana.  I work in Kentucky.

You may have noticed the rather large river between the two?

bridgeAs a little kid, I’d have to get into the floorboard when crossing the Sherman Minton Bridge to see my grandma.  As I got older, I eventually learned to manage my panic.

By the time I learned to drive, I could cross bridges with my eyes open, sitting up in the seat (which certainly made driving over them easier).

I still grip the steering wheel so tightly, my knuckles turn white.

Five days a week.  Twice a day.

Fear is a funny thing.  If we let it, it can box us in.  It can turn a river into a wall.  It can turn difficulties into limits.  It can contort our lives, shrink our dreams, and distort our perspective.

Fortunately, wherever there’s fear, there’s always a way past the fear.  It doesn’t make the fear go away.  It just makes it possible to get from where you are to where you need to be.   It keeps the fear from stopping you.

So as we all go barreling heedlessly into the weekend, lets take a minute to consider what ways fear is running between you and your dreams, and what might make a good bridge to get past the fear.

Chime in on the comments if you feel like sharing.

img courtesy kkiser on sxc


  1. ·

    I have always been interested in cooking, but I have always been afraid of trying some dishes because I didn’t think they would come out properly.

    What if I score the duck breast too deeply, what if I don’t cut the butter into the pie crust dough correctly, what if the eggs scramble when I add them, what if the milk curdles when I add the lemon juice…

    All these fears of failure. Finally I started looking at it from a worst case perspective. If I score the duck too deeply there will be cuts in the meat and it won’t be as pretty Big deal. If I don’t handle pie dough correctly it gets gummy and tough. I can make more. If the eggs scramble I’ll strain the sauce. If the milk curdles I’ll start over.

    Being able to identify the fear, formulate it as a problem, and come up with a solution has helped me tremendously in my cooking. They’re no longer fears, they are just potential problems with an array of solutions.

    I’m slowly applying this to other areas, but some situations are a little more complicated than cooking. I have come to realize that the worst case, which is what I automatically assume will happen, is rarely what happens.

  2. Kat

    That’s a good point, Charles. Taking the next step past “What if?” and actually answering the question realistically, can be a good bridge to getting past the fear.

    some situations are a little more complicated than cooking…

    LOL… you said a mouthful, brother!


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