This post is a bit of a confession. One of my least favorite chores in the world is the mowing of the lawn. I frequently find myself asking God why he had to create this plant to constantly need trimming and cutting, why it couldn’t just grow to a certain length and then stay there. And then I remember Genesis 3, and how this is not how things were meant to be. The curse is that we will work the ground by the sweat of our brow, and curse it is!
With a busy summer schedule, and an onboard lack of desire to do anything about it, my lawn typically grows beyond jungle status. The other day we got a note from the township saying that we had a couple of days to get our act together or face a fine. So I got the lawn mower out and started cutting. How tall was it at that point? I broke the lawnmower. It ran for a little while before the engine gave up, sputtered its last, and died. There was much cursing.
I went back to the shed and discovered a mower not unlike the one pictured above. I guess I had purchased it a while ago to help me deal with the monster hill we have in our front yard. Only a hipster of the highest order could mow their lawn, intentionally, with such a device. What is the lowest tech, most old school way to go about this? The green meanie, that’s what!
So now I mow my lawn completely and exclusively with the green meanie. At the risk of sounding too much like a hipster, I actually do enjoy the task a little bit more with this mower. It’s quieter, it’s lighter, and it is kind of mesmerizing to watch the blades spin around in their tornado pattern. But then as I was mowing a few nights ago my neighbor walked out of his house and I was gripped with fear. What kinds of judgements would he be throwing my way for mowing my lawn with spinning knives instead of a powered mower like normal human beings? So I kind of hid behind the house and mowed that section until he went back inside.
But then I was convicted a bunch. Not for being scared, that’s normal. I was convicted because I didn’t know his name. This guy who has lived in the house next to mine for at least two years, I don’t know his name. I think I even met him once, when he moved in. I bet I asked him his name then. I don’t remember it now. And come to think of it, the only way that I could have received that letter about my lawn being too long would be if one of my neighbors complained. Was it the guy whose name I don’t know? Or one of the countless other neighbors I have whose name I don’t know?
I am a bad neighbor.
I don’t think I’m alone. I think the more and more we as a society have come to live in the digital communities provided to us by social media, the less and less we have felt a need to live in the actual communities in which we reside. We can be much more choosy about our friends, and so unless our neighbors share a common interest with us, it’s pretty unlikely for us to know who they are. And this is kind of a bummer, because one of the big things Jesus was all about was loving our neighbors.
I can do better.
I hope you’ll join me in that effort. It’s going to be pretty tough for me, a notorious introvert would would much rather be alone watching Netflix than forcing small talk. But my goal in the next few weeks is to be a better neighbor to those who surround me. I want to learn names. I want to hear stories. I want to get to know my neighbors. I want to shine the light of Christ in my neighborhood.
And yes, I want to do a better job mowing my lawn.