Reflections On Yard Work, Politics, and Human Nature

Six total hours of yard work spread over both Saturday and Sunday afternoons gets one contemplating many things… that is unless one’s brain starts to fry under the heat of the baking sun. I was only half-baked today, so I was still well able to apply my gray matter to things which the normal middle-American doing yard work would never contemplate. Such contemplation involved weeds.

Weeds are like incumbents

After two hours of pulling the most stubborn of weeds from the yard, I thought, “These are as hard to get rid of as an incumbent politician.”

After further reflection, I realized that I was onto something. Once a weed gets into the ground, it digs its roots in deep. If left in the ground for too long, it goes to seed, spreading its offspring to the rest of the yard. If its roots go too deep, no amount of pulling will unseat the foul plant. One will have to wait for it to die to be removed. In like manner, a bad politician will use whatever funds, influence, and power to secure his or her position for a long time, digging in his roots. The politician, if allowed, will seek to influence educational institutions to promulgate his or her views, spreading the seeds. If no competing politician unseats the incumbent, the incumbent will continue to build such power, that only death will unseat him.

Children: a mirror of our own sinfulness

My wife, Sharyne, has been sitting for a friends children for the past few weeks. The eldest child wanted to help me with my yard work, so I decided to humor her, to relieve my wife from some extra work, and to perhaps wear out this very energetic child; however, I did not expect a lesson in human nature. While I was mowing, I asked her to pull weeds. After pulling a few weeds, she said, “This is too hard. Can I push the mower?”

The mower in question is a motorless, human-powered, old fashioned “reel mower.” This means, firstly, that it is hard to push. Secondly, it means the blades are exposed. When this energetic seven-year-old tried pushing the mower from the handle-bars, she moved the mower around two feet in ten minutes. During that time, I devoted myself to my hatred of weeds, pulling the vile yard-invaders up by the roots. I chanced to look up, seeing the little girl having moved a few feet more; however, much to my horror, she was pushing the mower by the lower half of the handle, close to the very sharp rotating blades. I told her to stop. I told her to never push the mower that close to the blades, but to use the handlebars.

She proceeded to mow again, while I turned to uproot a few more weeds. I looked up again, finding her pushing the mower close to the blades again. I stopped her, taking over the mowing myself, telling her to move the pile of weeds, which I had built up, to the woods in back of the duplex. I pushed the mower for a while, but stopped to dethrone an entrenched “incumbent.” While pulling up the weed, I noticed the mower moving again. She was mowing from the handle-bars, as she had been told. She was having some difficulty mowing through the tall grass, so I instructed her to cut a half-path. I told her at least ten times to cut a half-path, but she ignored the instruction, insisting on her own way. She again insisted on her way of pushing the mower close to the open blades. I stopped her, taking over the mowing. She, not being happy about the situation, ran into the duplex.

At first, I was relieved to be free from the dual threat of the possibility of a trip to the ER, and explaining to an angry mother why the child entrusted to our care has only one hand. On later reflection, I realized that I am often like that child. I insist on my way, even though God has shown me His way over and over again. He has shown me the dangers of worldliness, its end being death. He has also showed me the way of life through Jesus Christ His Son. If not for His Son, I would still be despising God’s ways, insisting that my own ways were good. Jesus’ sinless life, His vicarious death, and His glorious resurrection dash my ways to the rocks. May continued reflection on the Gospel and the working of His sanctifying Spirit continue to uproot the weeds of my ways from my life.

Article originally published on July 18,2010


About haroyce

Royce is an aspiring writer of fantasy, history, philosophy, and theology. He earned his BS in History from Cedarville College, and his MDiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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