Precipice-standing or rock-firm?

Some years ago my husband and I vacationed in Hawaii. Our hotel room was located a number of stories above the ground and included a lanai, or balcony, overlooking some spectacular scenery. Every time I stepped out onto the lanai to enjoy the view, however, my steps were unsure. I had the feeling that if I walked to the edge, my weight would tip the balance, and the whole structure would collapse beneath me. Of course, it was an illusion, and I knew it, but I could never gather enough courage to fully let go of the fear and freely appreciate the beauty of that view.

I used to think that if only I had been present when they were building that hotel, if I'd seen the architect's plans, then watched the contractors fit the steel girders into place and pour the concrete, I might have gained enough respect for the physical laws governing its structure to offset my fear. But even an understanding of how things work physically would never entirely remove fears for everyone so that people might enjoy more freely their normal activities. Many carry with them the underlying belief that something could go wrong.

Step inside the open door
May 22, 1995

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