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Facing Our Fears
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ESPN announced recently that Tony Kornheiser, broadcast announcer for Monday Night Football, is being replaced. After holding down this lucrative position for three years, Kornheiser admitted the reason for his departure is due to his fear of flying.

And then, there’s the story of Gracie. At birth, Gracie Rosenberger came into the world with severe eye problems. By the time she was six, she had already weathered five surgeries. Even so, the reading disability brought on by her visual problems led to an incorrect diagnosis of remedial classes, or “Special Ed.”

Knowing Gracie’s intelligence and drive, her determined mother and one of her teachers fought for her. As a result, she excelled academically and graduated high school a year early with a 4.0.

Simply Survive

Then the unimaginable happened. A tragic car accident almost took her life at 17. Over 50 bones in her body were broken, many of them crushed. Gracie’s new goal was simply survival.

Contrary to her doctor’s expectations, Gracie did survive. However, it took months of painful rehabilitation to master even the simplest of tasks, such as learning to feed herself. Amazingly, she even learned to walk again. However, the damage to her legs had been so great that she eventually had to undergo amputations of both limbs.

A fighter who never gives up, Gracie has now, 25 years later, learned to do with the help of her prosthetics, many of the things she did before her accident. She plays basketball with her two sons, races an ATV and can even downhill ski – not fast but she can make it to the bottom!

With tenacity, determination and drive, Gracie even learned to rock climb, although her doctor thought this was one activity she would never be able to do. But why does she do it? In her own words Gracie says, “When I climb, I am fighting to conquer so much more than a mountain or rock. I am fighting to conquer all the fears I have ever had about being truly alive again.”

These stories accent two realities – we can overcome our fears, or allow our fears to overcome us.

Most of us are afraid of something, be it heights, crowded rooms, speaking in public or social gatherings. Or, perhaps your fear is technology, failure, success, freeway driving, or flying.

Whatever it may be, unbridled fear can easily paralyze our ability to live a full and productive life. If we give in to ours fears, they will master us. But if we face them head on, willing ourselves to do the very thing we are afraid of, we will attain the mastery.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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