Thursday, May 20, 2004

Dulled Senses

I put a new blade on our lawnmower a week or two ago. That may not seem like much of a feat for the average human, but anytime I attempt a home repair project and actually succeed I believe it should be noted, if not celebrated.

The old blade had become worn and battered from my frequent use of it on our church property which grows rocks at a slightly faster rate than it grows grass. I still used the mower even though it was highly inefficient. I only gave in and bought a new blade when I realized that I actually had to pull the mower backwards to get it to cut grass because pushing it forward was useless.

I'll admit the simple job of replacing the blade stumped me for a while, which speaks volumes as to my mechanical skills. Yet, I did eventually complete the process without having to call someone "handy" or use an inordinate amount of profanity.

Overwhelmed by my success, I immediately began to mow our yard and was stunned at how well the mower worked.

I'm fairly diligent about tending to the church property yet working in my own lawn provokes a certain sense of laggardness to say the least. We've lost dogs in our back yard.

The grass had grown tall and thick. It was still wet with dew when, emboldened by my mower blade replacement victory, I marched out into the yard and fired up the machinery.

It was amazing. I had forgotten what it felt like to use a piece of equipment that actually functions properly. The mower didn't sputter or stall, it steamed through the thick wet grass like Marlon Brando at a Las Vegas buffet.

It performed perfectly....and it also reminded me of my own imperfections.

How silly had I been? A new mower blade costs about 8 bucks and I'd proven that even I am capable of replacing one. Yet I had spent weeks and weeks forcing that mower along, going over the same ground repeatedly because it invariably left some grass uncut, and all the while I complained about how poorly the mower worked. I never gave a thought to how lazy I was being.

I wish I could say it was only the lawnmower that drove home that point, but alas that's not the case.

Another glaring example of this character flaw was brought to my attention this afternoon, ironically by our vacuum cleaner.

I was doing some house cleaning and got out the vacuum. As I was sucking up enough dog hair to weave a poodle I pushed the vacuum over a small piece of string. The string didn't budge. I tried again - no luck. I tried once more, then another time...then again and again....

I'm ashamed to think how many times I tried to vacuum up that tiny piece of string before I finally bent down and picked it up by hand.

Appliances and lawn equipment not included, how often do I do this exact same thing in other areas of my life?

I've certainly allowed some relationships to become dulled or damaged simply due to a lack of effort on my part, and I'm equally guilty of putting too much effort into inconsequential things out of sense of stubbornness.

I hope I remember this lesson.

I want to come away from this with more than grass clippings and dog hair.

Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. - Proverbs 9:9