In 2006, a wise friend told me this story. “2 woodcutters were chopping trees in the forest in the heat of the day. After several hours of intense work, they sat down on a log to rest. As they sat down, one man started sharpening his axe. The other man looked at him curiously and said, ‘You are resting, why are you sharpening your axe?’ to which, his companion replied, ‘So that after I rest, I am ready to go again.’”
I never knew that 14 years later, this is the story of the first-half of 2020. It first started with split team, then social distancing and finally a complete shutdown of public and work places. We knew that it would come, we just hoped it didn’t.
And yet, working from home while having an income versus working from home without one would be two very different matters. And so, those who did started to find ways to help those who didn’t. Campaigns were started. People stepped forward to give. Some gave of their money, others gave of their time. From looking out for vulnerable children, to the homeless and to the animals in the zoo, friends and strangers stepped into the gap to meet the needs. We were in this together, and we will get out of this together.
This made me deeply grateful for front-line workers – doctors, nurses, bus captains, chefs, waiters, grocery store cashiers, those who shelf produce, security personnel, project managers and so many more. The knowledge that they were out there faithfully and diligently fulfilling their duties only spurred me on to find ways to use what I had to meet the needs of others. We can’t stop as long as they are out there.
But back to the opening story. Someday, the circuit breaker will end and someday, we will all look back on this and share our experiences – not mask to mask, but face to face. However, until that day comes, we must sharpen our axe to be ready. If our roles are to serve others, we serve it with gratitude. If our roles are to make money, we do so knowing that we are rebuilding our economy. And if our roles are to nurture, we do so knowing that we are building the future.