Tranquil Scene after a Storm: Photo by Joseph Fernandez

Sleeping in a Storm

Once upon a time, in a time not too far removed from ours, there thrived a farm in a green valley on the other side of Utopia’s border. It was the other side of Utopia, you know, and things were not always perfect. Despite the sylvan settings of the incredibly productive, picture-perfect farm, there swept across the land quarterly storms of great ferocity laying waste to the harvest efforts of the 12 weeks that had passed it.

One morning, a serene, comfortably dressed stranger presented himself at the door of the farm owner’s cottage. He sought work on the farm. And he had remarkably little to say beyond a few words of introduction. Since resumes (and LinkedIn recommendations!) had not yet been invented, he handed a scroll of recommendation to his potential employer. The curious farm owner opened it to find it sealed with the crest of the largest landowner of the realm.

The golden parchment had a single line etched in a fine turquoise ink.

It read: ‘He sleeps in a Storm.’

Now, the owner recovering the battering of the last week’s storm was desperate for help. His farm hands had abandoned the farmland swearing, never to return to this blighted corner of the region. And for this reason, the serene stranger, he was hired immediately. Twelve sun-blessed weeks of sowing and nurturing passed on the farm that bordered Utopia, with the promise of a golden harvest to come.

And then it returned. In predictable fury, the powerful storm returned like a marauding giant to rip and destroy everything in the valley. Awakened by the torrential rain and howling winds, the weary owner leapt out of his bed, calling desperately for his new hand who did not hear the frenzied knocking on his door. The man slept soundly, above the howl of the wind, lashing of the training, and the occasional crash of debris.

So the owner dashed to the nearby barn and to his amazement, saw that it had been reinforced with logs and stood firm against the raging storm. The animals inside were secure and grazed placidly with plenty of feed. He raced against the pelting rain to his field, where he saw the bales of wheat had been bound securely, wrapped in tarpaulin, preventing every sheaf from being inundated in the rain that cascaded in torrential streams down the ash-grey valley.

In a final dash of adrenalin, he sprinted to his favorite silo and discovered its doors securely locked and the grain, dry. It would be ready for sale in the village markets. And this quarter, after many moons, would finally report a profit. The rain-drenched owner smiled to himself.

He understood now why the scroll read: ‘He sleeps in a Storm’.

And so friend, if we tend carefully to the things that are most important to our lives, we become like the serene stranger who slept peacefully in a storm. Indeed, I have heard that in this age of tectonic shifts, changing market, crises management and business continuity processes, there lies great value in the virtue of our preparedness, and with it, comes the gift of ‘Sleeping in a Storm’.

Post Script: A short while ago, I came across this Internet parable with its life-lesson of being prepared for scenarios. It made a deep impression on me, though I could not attribute it. Sleeping in a Storm is my version of that story.

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