Do you remember the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime?” (Lao Tzu)
When I was a child we had an awesome riding lawn mower. The name on it was “Coast to Coast.” Why do I remember that? We were not allowed to ride or mow with it but every once in a great while we were given a ride. Mowing always looked like fun.
When I was in early high school my sister’s boyfriend’s mom (that was a mouthful) asked me to come over and mow her yard and she’d pay me!!! I had NEVER mowed a lawn before, but remember, it looked like fun.
My mom dropped me off and Orla showed me the push lawn mower, where to put the gas, and gave me a quick lesson on how to start it. I have no idea if she watched me, but oooooohhhhhhh! It was NOTHING like I had expected. I PUUUUUSSSSSSHED and PULLLLLLLED in circles. I started on the outer edges and worked myself to the middle, sweating, and muttering to myself the entire time. When I was FINALLY done, I drug myself to the door and let her know I had put the mower away and she paid me–more that I expected! I was thrilled and about half of my despising of lawn mowing went away. The other lingered until, well, now.
Archie loved to mow and found it relaxing. He’d make beautiful lines, criss-crossing weekly so the grass would “stand up.” When Arch didn’t have time, I’d mow. When he was in the car accident in ’94, which tore all of the muscles in his knee and he had to relearn how to go up stairs and such, I mowed or my mom mowed (she came to live with us when I went into premature labor with Taylor–mowing made me dilate to 3 at 27 wks–oops). When he had the blood clot in his leg, I mowed. I also found that as I got older, cut grass didn’t like me as much as I didn’t like it. I’d get all stuffed up and sneeze for a day or two.
I think it’s safe to say, I do not associate mowing with good memories.
Then February Archie went home. Another unfortunate event was that he had hit a large snake in the yard at the end of the last year. The riding lawn mower was gouging the yard with every pass. That’s ok. He’d fix it next year. February isn’t next year.
So the grass began to grow, as it does each year. The Nimtzs (Taylor’s other family) magically appear and begin mowing our yard with the push mowers that work. They haven’t stopped yet. The riding lawn mower, or giant paper weight, as I lovingly call it, sits demoralized in the shed, unable to be of help.
Kathy to the rescue! My new office buddy and cohort in customer service, is a lovely lady by the name of Kathy. What is truly funny is that her hubby used to work with Taylor when she was interning during college. Small world. Some how Kathy and I got onto the subject of our yard, as Taylor and I are wondering if we have it “in” us to maintain everything. It’s really not that much, it’s just grief takes every desire out of both of us. We hate that we have to have help with the yard, but both realize we would be unable to maintain this house, in the state we are in, without the help.
Kathy says she is sure her hubby can fix our ridding lawn mower and wants our address so they can come on Saturday.
Today is Saturday. I wake up to pouring rain. Crap. I’m making a mental list of all of the “half-to’s” that I haven’t touched since Arch went home. The trim that is missing in the hallway starts screaming. “I hear you!” I mentally say, but am trying to ignore. I stand out on the porch and watch the rain. It’s nice when the outside reflects your inside, and you don’t even have to say anything :). I drag some of the trim out. Yeah. Do I really want to do this? Make that a “no.”
I get a text from Kathy. They think it’s going to stop raining in the afternoon. Am I going to be home? Wow! I really thought the rain would have them cancel. “Yes!” Whatever time works for them. So that added a bit more bounce to my step in my reluctance to do the trim. Archie loved doing trim, so this is another feeling like I’m “cheating.” I was actually going to do it last fall, when he thought he’d thrown out his back, but he’d asked me to wait because he wanted to do it. Now you know why this is stinky.
Kathy and Dennis show up. Not only do they fix (technically Dennis fixed and Kathy was the eye candy, tried to find tools for him and support for her hubby and me, since I was there too) the lawn mower, but Dennis was kind enough to give me lessons on how to operate it. I was completely clueless.
First Dennis had to move the seat waaaaay forward, because Archie was a foot taller than me and I could barely reach the pedals. Then he gave me lessons on what everything was and directions on getting the machine to go. They both watched as I jerked my way across the yard. Thankfully, neither of them laughed.
Honestly, I felt like I was sinning or something. I was never suppose to touch the riding mower as a kid, then Archie didn’t want me to mow because he knew I didn’t really want to, and now I have this mower that is…mine. This felt very wrong. Dennis and Kathy were both so encouraging. They each have a mower and say that I could find it relaxing. Dennis even offered to come next year for some maintenance, just so I wouldn’t have that in my head as an additional worry.
When I was done with my wavy lines (Archie’s eyebrows would have been raised and his comment would have been,”at least you learned”), Dennis and Kathy again reassured me saying to, “take it nice and slow”, I “have plenty of time to learn it, just try to enjoy it.” I joked I ought to put in bleachers and sell tickets for retirement with my first attempt at mowing (it’s not going to be pretty). Dennis pulled money out of his pocket for the first purchase. NOT.
Anyway, I love the Nimtz’s for their sacrifice for Taylor and I, but realize that they have a life and family, too. They have “fed us” many times by giving us the “fish” we needed, as we have been physically unable to “fish” for ourselves. If we continue on this road, someday we would starve.
Dennis and Kathy offered to teach us to “fish” just when we are, I hope, to the point to where we are able to add a little more to our plate. Ultimately, we need to find out if we are capable of this. In so doing, they have equipped us for years–taught me how to fish for myself.
Basically, they taught me how to fish with a lawn mower. Who knew?
Proverbs 11:24-25 “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Now only did they fix the lawn mower, but “on their way out” they fixed Taylor’s car that’s been sitting in the driveway, unable to move for 5 weeks! When I asked how much I owed them, their response was,”Nothing.” They saw I had a need and they wanted to meet it. My face leaked. So did Kathy’s.
Monday, Kathy’s daughter is having surgery. We would greatly appreciate if you could mention this special girl, Kristi, to our Heavenly Dad on her/their behalf.
Until tomorrow: Blessings!