watering & mowing

The children of a family who stopped having children at some reasonable point have outgrown the giant jungle-gym play set that was in their backyard.

They were looking for a family with small children who could benefit from such a thing without making a big deal out of it.  We’re fortunate enough to have the spread from 17 (in 6 days) to a whole bunch of small children. So, we got to be the beneficiaries of the generosity of the reasonable family.

Renee said, though, that before we brought the new fortress of swings, slides and towers into the backyard we needed a clean up day. Saturday was that day because friends were booked to help bring the thing on Sunday.

Before we began, we had a family meeting to explain the events of the weekend and the benefit coming at the end, and everyone got their delegated duties. Noah was mowing the front, then helping chop down old shrubs in the back. Will was mowing the back, after he finished the trimming in the front. Katie and Hannah were on yard-wide weed duty. The “littles” were under Mom’s guidance to clear the backyard of debris and toys. Ben and I were fixing sprinklers and chopping bushes, and I was yelling orders at everyone.

Early in the mayhem, just when everyone had gotten a good yelling, and we all had a nice sweat going, Ellie, the 5-soon-to-be-6-year-old, with the voice heard round the world says, “Dad? Dad? Dad?! Dad!!!!! Dad? Dad!!? DAD! Why do we water the lawn and then mow it?”

“What, Ellie? What did you say?”

“Why do we put water on the lawn just so we have to mow it later?”

Hmmm. Good question. Of course, I didn’t answer. I laughed. We all laughed. “Good question, Ellie.”

Of course, the answer is that we water the lawn (at least in the high-desert of Colorado) to keep it green and keep it from dying. We also pay too much money and/or time for fertilizer and weed-killer. Then we mow it, so it doesn’t grow too big, and make all the neighbors wonder why the family with all the kids and big vehicles doesn’t take care of their property.

Good question. Watering and mowing?

We want everything to be in order. Not too dead. Not too ugly. We want pretty and lively. We don’t want wild and abundant. The middle is good. Control is good. Right in the middle. Water so it grows. Mow it so it doesn’t get out of hand. Right there in that middle range is good. Have a little fun, but not too much.

Everything in moderation.  Everything?

Why do I complain about my needs, then feel offended at being seen as needy when someone offers to help?

Why do I get excited when my friends offer their time and energy and effort in the heat of a Sunday afternoon to tear down and load up and transport and unload a new play set for my kids, and then apologize for making them low on gas and late and tired and sweaty and overworked?

Why do I go to church on Sunday morning and tell God how much I love him, and that I’ll do anything for him, then spend the rest of the week justifying why I can’t or won’t?

Why do I desire a love that overwhelms and satisfies the deep places of my soul, and then build walls and defense systems to prohibit trespassing in those areas?

Why do I water and then mow?

I only want the green and growth of life on my terms.

Just hold her steady. Yes. I can handle that. A pat on the back for a nice lawn, but not a spectacle.

I wonder if I can put the jungle-gym together myself. Maybe I’ll call different friends to help with that part. There’s no sense in letting that grass grow too high.

4 thoughts on “watering & mowing”

  1. Hello Dale, we were blessed to have you and your family visit us here in Tennessee. What a special day. I really have enjoyed reading your web site. You write things/thoughts I don’t always know how to articulate. It is indeed special to also hear a different perspective on our little congregation. 😉 We are small but mighty at the same time! We hope to see you in Oct and perhaps meeting some more members of your beautiful family. Love and Blessings to you and yours!!


  2. Fortunately–or perhaps unfortunately for you, you couldn’t get rid of Aaron as a friend or stop him from helping you even if you wanted to. He’s probably the one who causes your grass (or life) to get a little “overgrown and wild”.


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