Fear of Heights

replacing the chandelierThe other day, my wife and I were talking and she said that she was beginning to feel “normal” again.  By that, she meant that there was a “fog” in which she found herself after having all three of our kids.  She said that about the time that they all turned 2 was about the time when she began to feel like herself again.  So much happened in the first years of all of my children’s lives, so it’s no wonder that neither of us have completely felt like ourselves.  Seminary.  Job changes.  Health issues.  Loss of parents.

Surveying the house, my wife began eyeing all of these projects that she had been wanting to do but either never had motivation, energy, or time.  Thus the creation of the “Honey Do” list.  I told her that she was trying to make up for 4 1/2 years in seminary.  Painting.  Lighting fixtures.  Chandeliers.  New toilets.

Of course, the best laid plans seem to fall by the wayside at times.  What begins as a little project can easily spiral into something bigger.  Having a house that’s a little bit newer, we thought that we would be in pretty good shape when repairing or replacing things.  We were wrong.  We have found shoddy craftsmanship in many of the nooks and crannies in our house.  A simple replacement of a lighting fixture generally means some kind of drywall repair as well.

My wife is a bargain hunter too.  She’s been looking to find just the right deal on the lights that she wanted.  The other day, I got an email from her announcing that she had found the new chandelier for our entranceway foyer.  The price was about half of what it usually would be, but I wasn’t certain about it for a number of reasons.

First of all, I had no idea how I was going to get to the ceiling of our 2 story foyer.  I didn’t expect that my ladder would reach.  Secondly, and more importantly, I have a fear of heights that can easily disqualify me from jumping buildings in a single bound…..or replacing lamps at 2 stories.  I just didn’t know that I would be able to hack it.

I put the plea out on social media for a ladder that might work and within hours, some friends came over with a ladder.  Together, we managed to conquer the job, but not without a lot of sweat and a lot of fighting my inner battle with heights.  I guess that I realized I was more afraid of my children and wife thinking me a coward than I was of heights.  My hands were incredibly sweaty though, and I had visions of me falling the 15-20 feet from the top of the ladder because of my sweaty palms.

Many times in the past, when I’ve tried to conquer my fear of heights, I have found that if I am distracted, I can easily put aside the fear.  When I have something that I am focusing on like replacing a chandelier, cleaning a gutter, repairing siding, or something else, I can more easily focus on the task at hand and put aside my fears.

I wonder how many of us have fears that might be conquered in a similar manner.  Sometimes, our fears seem bigger because they are the only thing that we are focusing on.  We look at them and they seem so big and glaring and we neglect to focus on the bigger thing, usually the task at hand.

Fear can easily overtake us, paralyze us, and convince us that it’s bigger than it really is.  What we need in those times is perspective, to look at something bigger to pull things back into perspective.  When we do that, somehow the fears seem to diminish..

I’ve tried and tried to conquer my fear of heights.  I think I’ve done a pretty good job.  I’ve rappelled off of buildings, climbed ladders, stood on rooftops, and ridden roller coasters, all in an attempt to conquer the fear.  Still, focus remains the key.  I need to remind myself of that the next time a fear seems too big for me.  If it seems too big, I’m probably focusing on the wrong thing.  A simple readjustment might be all that it takes.  I’ll let you know how that works out for me.

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