Taking Care of the Lawn of Life

I’ll let you in on a little secret (no, not that one). I like to work in the yard. Mowing, planting things, you name it, I put my earphones in and can easily spend more time on my hands and knees than [fill with totally inappropriate joke here]. What I really love the most though is weeding. Pulling weeds, especially that satisfying yank when you know you’ve got it by it’s little roots, feels as close as I will probably ever get to being a sniper.

Recently I’ve been a little more introspective than usual, and was thinking about how much the experience of gardening correlates to life experiences. While nothing dramatically poignant or earth shattering.

Outward Appearance Matters. To a Point.

I live near the neighborhood Lawn Fanatic. You know the type, setting the tone for both the frequency of mowing as well as the length of the mowing season. Their lawn is pristine, definitely WP_20130519_010admirable. But you know what the sad thing is? The family is never outside. Never. I’ve wondered the past few years why that is, especially with kids. Whatever. All I know is that every time I see their handiwork I feel sad that they can’t enjoy what they’ve accomplished.

I try hard to strike a balance between what makes sense for my personal health as well as just feeling good about myself. Do I sometimes cross over into doing things out of pride or ego? Yeah, sure. But I try to own up to that, make it something that happens less and less. Instead, I try to consciously do good for myself and others feel better about themselves.

Everybody Can Use a little help. Just don’t forget to do your part.

WP_20130519_001Laying down 80cu feet of cedar mulch can do a lot for one’s yard (and body). After I completed the front yard I did take some time to enjoy how nice it looked. What struck me was how it drew my eyes away from the weeds I hadn’t pulled. How it made every shrub and foliage look just a little better. What we sometimes forget is that mulch also has other benefits besides lawn cosmetics. It inhibits the growth of weeks and, depending upon the type, can be an aromatic that helps inhibit mosquitos.But it’s not a miracle worker. If you haven’t done a decent job of removing weeds, edging the lawn, etc. Mulch can actually make your lawn look unkempt.

Asking for help isn’t easy. It is an admission that we cannot do something on our own. It’s important to have supporters, friends, and family that can lend a hand. I’ve been extremely blessed in that regard, no doubt about it. What I want to do now is also be more sensitive to others in need. Because I think it eases the burden a little to offer help to someone instead of waiting to be asked.

Change sometimes requires digging deep.

WP_20130519_008Weeds. Hate them with a passion. By definition their invasive, stubborn; they literally steal, kill, and destroy. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fact of the matter is, most weed infestations are due to lack of maintenance. And it’s not just throwing weed killer across the lawn, but also grass seed, literally chocking off the ability of the weed to grow. Wow.

Can it be more obvious, the metaphor weeds represent in life? For each of us it’s different and personal. I know the areas of my own life that take away from the good, demonstrate selfishness, and have the tendency to make me look ugly. And I know the maintenance I must do covers the gamut of spiritual, physical, mental, financial, and professional transformation. Every day. It’s not easy, and sometimes I get discouraged when I see a weed that I thought I’d rid myself of. So I dig deeper and look forward to that satisfying feeing of complete riddance.

Good, honest work can be it’s own reward.

As I sit here I’m tired, sore, and in need of a mani/pedi. But I’m also really happy about what I was able to accomplish. Not only do I feel personal satisfaction from some really hard word, but also am pleased that I’ve contributed to the physical appearance of the neighborhood as well as my own family’s sense of happiness about their home.

And that’s something I really want to be my legacy. Someone who worked hard to make a noticeable, lasting difference in this world, not just for himself but for others.

Tonight, I plan to get a good great night’s sleep. Tomorrow is another day. Can’t wait to get back to the lawn.