About 30 years ago, on a blustery, snow-filled winter’s night, I crossed the Mighty Mac for the first time. Mom was driving; white-knuckling it actually because of the poor visibility and wind gusts.
My five year old inquisitor brother starts grilling with questions, “Whoa, Mom, how deep is that water down there? How far up are we? Is the water cold? Would we…”
My Mom never answered his questions or found the answers for him, as she usually did…due to her intense fear at that moment.
This past Labor Day, half of our family walked the Mighty Mac during the annual Labor Day bridge walk, including the now 35 year old inquisitor. While we were enjoying Mackinac City, Mom finds a paper with Mackinac Bridge fun facts. She smiled and said, “Jeff, I have the answers to your questions. The water under the bridge is 95 feet deep and the bridge is 199 feet above the water.”
We were all laughed, heartily!
But there’s a lesson here too. Sometimes people cannot answer your personal questions. Usually it’s because they don’t know or don’t want to appear foolish or that the truth might embarrass them.
But sometimes it’s because they are flat out terrified. Fear prevents people from being honest with themselves and with you. Fear is the enemy of intimacy and vulnerability. Fear corners people and causes them to behave oh so squirrelly…or mean…or rude.
My mom always tried to help us get answers to our questions, but her fear caused her to be short with my brother & tell him to just shut up.
I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make…other than I love my family and I loathe fear…but this has just been rolling around in my head and I needed to get it out.
PS Random funny..me, my mom and my niece all prefer walking the Mighty Mac to driving over it. We feel safer. Weird but true.