Day 46 Building bridges with shaky materials

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
     Eleanor Roosevelt

I could not get into the book.

However, I loved the movie.  This weekend I watched Ang Lee’s brilliant adaptation of Yann Martel’s book, “Life of Pi.”  It was everything I love in a film: it took me to a faraway place, it had a twist in the end and it presented the world as a mystical place where God and nature can take the human person on an amazing journey.  Pi is a young Indian boy whose family owns and operates a zoo.  They are transporting the animals across the Pacific Ocean when the ship flounders in a storm.  The young man finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.  Pi is afraid of the beast but will not destroy him for fear of being completely alone in the middle of the vast and treacherous ocean.   This preposterous circumstance is fraught with danger for Pi, but at one stage in the story he acknowledges his fear of the tiger is good for it keeps him alert as the boat drifts endlessly across the sea.

I keep thinking about this idea that fear may have value.  We are always trying to rid ourselves of apprehension and stress.  I for one am always preaching the consistent directive from Jesus to “be not afraid.”  But what if fear has some value?  Is dread not at the root of our inclination to stay away from dangerous hallucinatory drugs?  Fright of being pulled over by law enforcement motivates us to drive automobiles safely. Distress at the prospect of displeasing God can inspire us to avoid sinful actions.  Don’t misunderstand me; I am not advocating a spirituality or even a lifestyle rooted in anxiety, rather if fear is inevitable, why not use it to our advantage?

When we recognize the familiar sensation of worry about our money, health, family I wonder if it is possible to allow the energy of fright to heighten our senses, engage our ingenuity, and activate creative solutions?   In the same way that a person summons superhuman powers in an emergency, could our fear be a bridge to a solution?  I suppose I am suggesting we make friends with the entirety of our personalities.  Rather than running, denying or hiding – to accept that anxiety is a natural part of our survival.  Perhaps we are meant to learn that healthy fear might be the very thing that saves us – like being with a tiger in a lifeboat waiting to be saved.

“Bran thought about it.  ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’  ‘That is the only time a man can be brave, ‘his father told him.”
     George R. R. Martin
     Game of Thrones



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2 Responses to Day 46 Building bridges with shaky materials

  1. Gus Gocella says:

    I loved the movie about Pi and the Tiger. I can relate to fear being the biggest motivator in overcoming fear in surreal adventures. I was stationed in Southern Thailand at a place called Sattahip. On our 1 day off every other week a friend of mine and I visited the most beautiful serene place on earth called Pattaya Beach on the Gulf of Siam or now Thailand. After a six pack we went and rented a Catamarang (sp) and decided to sail to a distant island in the gulf. After reaching our destination, drinking our brewskis, we decided to sail back to shore which was not visible except the land mass in the distance. Tide was coming out towards us and a storm came up and it ot real scary. We jibed and jibed and could not get the boat to go towards the land in the distance. After two hours we finally reached shore 4 miles away from our launching point. We asked a few natives where were and how far from Pattaya and they laughed and told us the Kilos and we started walking the beach pulling our boat to get to our launch point. During the storm we had fear in us or scared but the longer it took us the more brave we became and God intervened. After watching Pi 40 years later, and my experience in Thailand, I completly relate to your 46th Blog and Building Bridges with Shaky Materials and had strength though fear!


  2. glynisjw says:

    Wow, what an idea! To think of my anxiety as something that might be useful rather than something I am always pushing away from.

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