Fear is a natural reaction to unsafe situations. Normally it is reasonable and it alerts us to be careful. In our nation today we fear an e-bola outbreak, terrorism, the economy, and other things over which we have little or no control.
But fears often border on the hysteric and keep us from achieving our destiny. My the fear of heights (acrophobia), is accompanied by the fear of gravity, (barophobia). I once climbed the 897 steps inside the Washington Monument only to be too scared to look out the window to see the beautiful view of DC through the tiny windows. On my first ride in a glass enclosed elevator, I immediately assumed the lotus position on the floor in the dead center of the cage. We won’t even discuss riding the cable car to the top of Masada in Israel. But one day I had to face and defeat this fear head on.
Interstate Highway H-3 opened on December 12, 1997 after twenty years of technical, environmental, and political problems. The highway begins at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, climbs the foot hills, tunnels through the Ko'olau Mountains, exits the tunnel, crosses a viaduct several hundred feet above the Haiku Valley, descends down to the Likelike Highway, and ends at the military facilities in Kaneohe.
One of the technical and political problems encountered was the electromagnetic radiation from the high powered Coast Guard navigational antenna. The transmitter was at the bottom of the valley with antenna wires stretched around the mountain ridge. In 1991 it became my task to investigate the contractor’s claims that radiation was affecting workers and equipment resulting in construction delays. My task was to evaluate the electromagnetic environment and the contractor’s claims and provide an analysis and a report.
Arriving at the site in late afternoon after a long flight from Seattle, we received a tour of the work area. The construction superintendent drove me in his pickup truck along a dirt road and up a sharp embankment to the mouth of the mountain tunnels. The divided highway was under construction with precast concrete forms cantilevered out over the valley and no guard rails. At the end there was nothing but empty space. It looked like a pair of giant diving boards. Then, horror of all horrors we drove out to the end of the road. When my escort began to turn the truck around to go back, I realized how narrow two lanes can be with no shoulder or guard rails. I excused myself, got out of the truck and watched as it took several maneuvers to turn completely around. Laying in my hotel bed that night, I could not sleep worrying about spending the entire next day at the end of the diving board, a hundred feet above the jungle, testing and taking measurements. Oh and did I mention my fear of bridges. (Gephyrophobia) My fear of heights and
On my way back to the site the next morning I just kept praying for God’s help. Nearing the construction zone, I heard a voice within me say. “Keep your eyes focused on your work and not the danger around you.”
Going out to the end of the viaduct and returning to the mountain was scary; but, all day long, as I focused on my work, my fears totally disappeared. I even took a break and could enjoy the view of Kaneohe Bay in the distance and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Down below was the lush jungle greenery of the Haiku Valley. The contractor was in fact correct. The electromagnetic radiation was electrifying equipment and dangerously shocking personnel and was potentially harmful to vehicles crossing through the area. They even shielded a portion of the highway for a time until the antenna itself became obsolete.
"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt." (Willlam Shakespeare)
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote, "This is one of the greatest laws of the universe…my greatest discovery outside of my relationship with God; if you think in negative terms you will get negative results, if you think in positive terms you will get positive results. Believe and succeed."
When fear begins to paralyse you and keep your from achieving your goal in life, do these three things:
1. Do think about where you are heading;
2. Do not think about the things you fear;
3. Do the things that will move you forward towards your destiny.
Then you will be well on the road to living up to your potential and becoming the person God created you to be.