Saturday, May 21, 2016

On Mowing the Lawn

Who knew that mowing the lawn could be so inspirational?

Our lawn desperately needed it. Heck, it desperately needed it 3 weeks ago. Through various scheduling issues with the guy who normally takes care of trimming my lawn, he hadn't been by to do it, and I hadn't had the time. Fast forward to probably a month since it should have been done, and it was not a pretty picture.

A forest, even, to use my Wife's term.

So there I was, sitting on the retaining wall around noon, saying the Angelus, when he drove up. Mind you, the house sits on the corner a good 4-5 feet above street level, the lawn sloping down precipitously into a retaining wall on one side and the sidewalk on the other. I'd already done the nasty hills, the front easement, and the back. All that was left was the long side easement. With grass easily 2+ feet high, causing the mower to stall out if I pushed to fast. Like more than a few inches at a time.

I could have finished. I didn't need him.

But there he was, an older gentleman driving an older truck, towing a trailer with some equipment. He pulled up to the curb across the street from where I sat on the retaining wall, praying the Angelus and taking a break.

"So, I've got this John Deere in my trailer, kind of a commercial rig. I'm gonna run it over this patch, that'll knock it down for you."

I didn't need his help, but only a fool turns down an offer like that. As he got out his wide-deck commercial-grade walk-behind, all I had left was to grab the push broom and start clearing the sidewalk, as his lean green means of assistance tore through the mini-jungle which has sprung up in the easement.

After he was done I thanked him, shook his hand. He said to think nothing of it, he just liked being able to help someone out, maybe make their day a little easier.

And indeed he had.

He also got me thinking. We've talked previously about how Grace perfects Nature, that is it doesn't obliterate us, but rather makes us more fully who we are.

This man didn't obliterate my work, he built upon in and helped me to complete my work faster than I could have on my own, and more than that probably wouldn't have helped if I hadn't been putting in initial effort. He didn't just see an unkempt lawn, he saw a man trying to improve an unkempt lawn, who was tired and in need of a rest.

Similarly, it seems that this is how the Lord often works. We focus often on the Mercy found in our eternal salvation - and rightly so, for this is the greatest gift we could hope to receive. However, at the same time we have a life to live here and now, and He has promised He would not leave us orphans.

The phrase "The Lord helps those who help themselves" is an invention, and not actually to be found in scripture. It is oftentimes flat out wrong - as shown by the healing of the paralytic whose friends had to lower him through the ceiling. He did not help himself in the slightest, and yet the Lord forgave his sins, and to prove His power healed the man's paralysis.

That being said, Grace perfects Nature, and I think often in our lives the Lord takes our attempt at a good work and magnifies it for His own purposes, whether that work is one of self-improvement, or service to another. We may think the little things we do are insignificant and don't matter, especially if they aren't explicitly religious. But then again, He has numbered the hairs on our head - can we say that anything we do is insignificant to Him?

Isn't it true that even on the most mundane of jobs, every so often he sends a commercial grade mower to clear through the thickest patch in our way?

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