Friday, October 21, 2022

Hold The Fort (#MY Eng 65)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lie', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry', 'ball is in your court', 'back to the drawing board', 'square peg in a round hole', 'don't rock the boat', 'a whole new ball game', 'burning the midnight oil', 'never say never', 'get all your ducks in a row', 'make the hay while the sun shines', 'tick all the boxes', 'a leopard cannot change its spots', 'fools rush in', 'final straw that broke the camel's back' and 'tip of iceberg'.

Everyone needs a holiday. Some more than others. Some going away for a long, long time.

And that leaves the rest of us back home toiling away harder than before to cover their absence. It's fair, when everyone takes turn and helps each other out in equal measure.

But then again, it's not really cool to abandon one's post at in the think of action. Leaving one's comrades to fend for themselves against the rampaging hordes while gallivanting away without a care in the world. And if one really need to take leave for an emergency or a well-planned vacation that can't be moved without risking a divorce or ex-communication from the family, one should still stay behind as long to ensure one's backup is properly briefed and trained.

* * *

Recently, I had to suddenly take leave from work, at a critical period of a project. Someone had to fill my spot, just for a while. Someone had to hold the fort.

I'm grateful for my colleagues who put in the extra shift to patrol around the perimeter and keep watch over the battlements. I owe them a lot. Next time if they ever face the same hardship, I'll definitely reciprocate. Kindness begets kindness.

Still, I felt rather guilty. I couldn't really switch off from work. My mind wouldn't feel at ease until I sorted out my responsibilities.

As soon as my serious troubles ebbed away, I rushed back to my station. Even though I was advised to take a couple more days of rest. I just didn't feel right that other people had to shoulder my workload. The kindness of others shouldn't be stretched more than required.

* * *

Actually, I've still not returned to normalcy. There are still some lingering complications that hinders my everyday routine. And there are moments when I'm totally disabled from discharging an important function of my work.

But I'm back at my post. Not the same way that I used to. But I'm there in mind and spirit, if not in body. People have definitely noticed all is not quite right with me. But hopefully, they'll understand and trust that I'm back for good.

I've tend to hold the fort for others more than the other way around. But until now, I've never given much thought about it. That's just something expected out of all of us. To help each other out without question. Unfortunately, now that I've left my post on this instance, I realise that some people don't feel strongly about holding the fort for others...

At the end of the day, it's all about how much we uphold a sense of moral responsibility. Some people take their shifts seriously, some doze off when the captain guard isn't looking. But to each their own.

For me, I turn up on guard duty every day and night because I have pledged to protect the fort. Holding the fort is part of holding to one's promise and purpose.

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