A new blog series… Members learning from Members…It takes a Village.
Thank you, Alicia Horst for sharing! Alicia and her husband Kendall founded, co-own and lead Lancaster Aero, an aircraft maintenance and painting services company in Smoketown, PA.
In our new age of distance learning, distance working, and social distancing too, we’ve had to wrestle with the meaning of the word “essential”. As an aviation maintenance business, the government deemed our company essential from the very beginning. While other business owners were preparing for shut-downs and lay-offs, we were preparing for the realities of working through a pandemic.
At work, there were employee childcare issues and health and safety concerns, customer questions about production schedules and cancellations, and everyone was carrying general worry of the collective country. At home, like everyone else, I had children adjusting to distance learning. I had an eighth grader who missed musical competitions she’d worked hard to prepare for. My extroverted high schooler was mourning the loss of her prom and fretting over cancelled SAT’s, and my dining room table had become our college freshman’s botany lab. I did what we do in these times; I soldiered up. There were children to steer and comfort, employees to encourage and protect, customers to communicate with, policies to write, supplies to be acquired, and LOTS of EXTRA CLEANING! Sure, there was a lot of “extra” going on, but I had a lot to be thankful for and I had all my plates spinning or so I thought.
Then it happened. I got really sick. My husband is now my caretaker, my children are managing my household chores, my friends and family are helping with the grocery shopping and meal preparation. Our team at work has had to pick up a lot of extra slack due to Kendall’s absence in the office to care for me. No longer strong enough to do all of the things I’m normally responsible for, or many of the things I love to do for others, I’ve had to open my heart up to the idea of allowing others to take care of me for a little while. Thankfully, it isn’t COVID 19. The truth is that like so many others, I was running full speed ahead and half broken for an awfully long time and a chronic little problem became a big, urgent one.
One of the blessings in all of this is that I’ve had the opportunity to embrace what’s really essential in my life. At the moment, it means embracing a period of rest, a willingness to be vulnerable enough to ask for help, and a spirit of gratitude for the help I’ve been given instead of a spirit of shame because I needed it. I’ve had the opportunity to watch my children make mature decisions all on their own. I’ve spent extra time laughing and crying with those closest to me. I’ve had the privilege of seeing our business team accept new challenges and grow in leadership and responsibility, and the joy of meeting neighbors who pitched in when they heard I needed help. I’ve had the affirmation of a husband walking in servant leadership and loving me in my weakness. Now that I’m on the road to recovery and the world is beginning to open up again, I’m planning for my re-entry back into “life”. I’m bringing with me an awareness of the importance of rest, an appreciation for the joy of receiving, and a deeper understanding that essentially, I don’t have to be strong all of the time.