I read a rather interesting story the other night, about a workman who was having a bad day at work.

He had come without a very important drill bit for his power drill, which meant he had to leave a whole wall of work untouched, his electric saw suddenly stopped working, the foreman had ordered the wrong type of wood, and to crown it all, when he was ready to go home after a long, frustrating day, his truck wouldn’t start. 

As his boss gave him a ride home, the workman sat in stony disappointed silence. They pulled up at his house, and the workman invited his boss indoors to say hello to his family.

Just before he opened the front door, the workman stretched out both hands and touched the branches of a little tree growing by the porch. Then he opened the front door and instantly became a totally different person.

He gave his wife a bear hug, played and laughed and rolled around with his kids and seemed absolutely nothing like the quiet, defeated man he had just been driving home with.

After saying a quick hello, the workman walked his boss back to the car. Unable to contain his curiosity any longer, the boss asked, “So what’s the deal with the tree you touched on your way in?”

The workman smiled, “Well, that’s my trouble tree. Every night before I go in to be with my family, I hang my troubles on the branches so they don’t follow me in”.

With that, the workman paused, gave a little grin before adding, “And the weirdest thing is that I never find as many troubles on my way out as I left on my way in”.

My friends, life is hard. It is filled with challenges, disappointments, anger, jealousy, injustices and greed. We have no choice but to face and deal with these negative influences day in, day out, as we go about our business. It’s hard, and we never get a break from it – unless we consciously take a break from it.

I have a very challenging job. The things I see and hear and read about are enough to cause most people a nervous breakdown. In order to cope, I make my home a stress-free environment. Everything and everyone there is designed to make me feel good, relaxed and comfortable, to help me recharge my batteries for the next round. My home is my happy place; my escape. And I actively ensure the absence of anything that will kill my vibe, so to speak.

But you know, there’s a lot of that going around these days. The Finance Minister recently referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as a near-apocalyptic event. I agree. It’s got the whole world stressed. And wherever you go, it’s all people want to talk about. 

To preserve our sanity, we could all do with an occasional break from the onslaught of panic and stress that accompanies this confounded virus. So just as we are advised to shed our clothes at the door so we don’t take the virus home with us, perhaps we need to start shedding our stress at the door too. 

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I dump my worries on the Trouble Tree, so they don’t grow on me.


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