LEAN ON ME
A woman is practicing driving in the countryside. The instructor, her husband, is in a terrible mood because of work-related stress. He keeps yelling at her inapt navigation, the erratic speeds, and the jerky brakes. The woman becomes increasingly nervous and shaky with his constant badgering. Eventually, her car swerves off the road, lands into a deep muddy ditch with a thud, and is stuck. Nothing happens to the woman, but the impact ends up spraining the man’s knee. He asks his wife to go and seek help. But the woman is furious at him and refuses to get out off the car. Resigned, the man goes limping into the countryside searching for assistance. He had learnt his lesson. He regretted his insensitivity towards his wife.
Often, we bring our work stress home, and vent out frustrations on our spouse. This is particularly rampant in Indian households where the homemaker might have sacrificed her career, only to feel worthless every time her dignity is compromised by her partner’s outbursts of frustration. Ironical. Sometimes we work so hard to improve our family’s lifestyle that we forget that there is more to quality than monetary comforts!
The man limps to a nearby farm, and approaches an old farmer for help. The farmer replies, “Tufaan can get your car out of that ditch,” pointing to an old mule who can barely manage to stand. The man figures he has nothing to lose, and limps back with the farmer and the mule. The farmer hitches the mule to the car and shouts, “Pull, Ajay! Pull, Vijay! Pull, Chetak! Pull, Tufaan!” And the mule pulls the car from the ditch with very little effort. The man is amazed. He thanks the farmer, “Why did you call out all those other names before you called Tufaan?” The farmer grins, “Old Tufaan is blind. As long as he believes he is part of a team, he doesn’t mind pulling.” This time, the observant wife learns her lesson, she regrets not assisting her injured husband.
Everyday when our spouse leaves us to go to the office, we might not realize that the world is not as protective as the home ecosystem. Often, to shield their loved ones, the bread earners might not be sharing their stresses even when they are utterly lonesome and demoralized. Sure, we may not be able to sort out their work troubles. But we can surely give our working partners a feeling that they are not alone, that their struggles are worth it, so that they can pull their load effortlessly.
When our counterparts are going through an unsteady driving/walking phase in their lives, let’s offer our shoulders to lean on. Sure, it’s easier said than done. But then, whoever said that life-long commitments are easy?