In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with Long Island. However, bridge building experts throughout the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the crazy idea. It wasn’t practical. It just could not be done.
But Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this beautiful bridge. He thought about it all the time and he was utterly convicted that it could be done. He felt compelled to share his dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion he managed to convince his son Washington, an up-and-coming engineer, that the bridge could, in fact, be built.
Working together for the first time, the father and son developed concepts of how it could be accomplished and how a multitude of obstacles could be overcome. With great excitement and inspiration, and the headiness of a wild challenge before them, they hired their crew and began to build their dream.
The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was injured and left with enough brain damage to result in him not being able to walk, talk or even move.
The people all made their comments: “We told them so!”; “Crazy men and their crazy dreams!”; and “It’s such foolish to chase such wild visions.”
With all of the negative press, everyone felt that the project should be scrapped- especially since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built. In spite of his handicap, Washington was never discouraged and he still had a burning desire to complete the bridge. His body may have been injured, but his mind was still as sharp as ever.
He tried to inspire and pass on his enthusiasm to some of his friends, but they were too daunted by the task. Yet he remained determined not to give up.Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one solitary finger- and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this one digit, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife.
He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. It seemed foolish, but the project was under way again.
Monday Morning Perspective:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” – Gail Devers
For thirteen years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm until one day the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s invincible spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances beyond his control. It is also a tribute to the engineers and their teamwork, and to their faith in a man who was considered mad by half the world. It stands too as a tangible monument to the love and devotion of his wife who for 13 long years patiently decoded the messages of her husband and told the engineers what to do.
Perhaps this is one of the best examples of a “never-say-die” attitude that overcomes a terrible setback and achieves a seemingly impossible goal.
We all face challenges- at home and at work. Some are mental, some are emotional, and others may be physical. But if a man condemned to be motionless and silent in a hospital bed can be directly responsible for the architecture of one of our nation’s most prolific bridges, I imagine that most of our struggles seem rather small in comparison.
Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed by the odds that are stacked against your success, just remember the Brooklyn Bridge. That one structure proves that dreams that seem impossible can be realized with determination and persistence, no matter what the odds may be!
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.