I used to hate cutting grass.
Let me qualify that. I still hate cutting grass if it involves a push mower. Or a weed eater.
The loathing began early. When I was 12 we moved from our house in the lower East End of Williamson, W.Va., to the house my grandfather built in the 1950s. When they moved 30 miles away, we inherited their house.
It was a great move for many reasons. In fact, there were almost no negatives. Almost.
But there was one. Our yard.
Looking at it now, it's tiny. But back then it was just large enough to be a royal pain in the wazoo. Oh, did I mention it sloped downhill at about a 60 degree angle?
My dad deemed me ready to cut the grass almost immediately upon our arrival on the hill. And once a week, I'd get the old blue lawnmower out and start cutting. Back and forth across the slope. Over strategically placed humps and around crevices near the driveway.
Always thinking to myself that my parents would be sorry if I slipped and lost a foot. Or worse.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: Year's later, when Angie and I were dating and I was working odd hours, dad tried cutting the grass. He DID slip, and whacked off part of a few toes on one foot. I felt guilty for weeks).
Funny, though, how you can learn life lessons at an early age. When I was a small child, and we visited my grandparents, occasionally my grandfather would be cutting the grass. But not in the conventional method.
To that same blue lawnmower he had attached a long rope. He would stand at the top of the hill, in the driveway, and feed the mower downhill with the rope. Then he'd pull it back up, and do it all over again; repeating the process until the job was done.
Watching him, I used to think he was silly. After cutting the grass a few times myself, I realized he was an unappreciated genius.
Anyway, after the grass was cut came the weedeating. Miles of yellow extension chord, which no matter how well I wound them (I thought) they found ways to entangle themselves while alone in the garage.
The whole process, which could have been accomplished in under 45 minutes, usually took much longer because my lack of enthusiasm had a direct effect on my working speed. Plus, as most of you know, when you spend all week dreading something, the actual task becomes much worse in your mind than in the real world.
As far as I was concerned, I was push-mowing a football field. Uphill. Both ways.
The hatred I felt for the job carried over into adulthood. Up until just a few weeks ago, in fact, I always paid someone to cut my yard.
But a couple of things conspired to change my mind. At least partially.
First, finances. Or lack of them. As the lack of steady work progressed, the proverbial belts have tightened. Among the things to go - my yard man. I resisted the temptation to hold a memorial service.
Secondly, and more importantly, was listening to older men talk at the prayer breakfasts I attend during the week. Getting out every week on the riding mower, they said, is a chance to not only get some much-needed time alone, but it's a great time to talk over things with God.
And you know what? They're right.
Now, with a borrowed riding mower at my disposal, I look forward to cutting the grass each week. Despite the roar of the engine, it has proven to be quiet time with God. And as the stress has been piling up the last couple of months, those conversations have become more and more precious.
So men, if you're looking for some Divine therapy, hop on the mower and take the Lord for a ride. Talk to Him. Enjoy the peace that fills you as you ride, talk and - this is the important part - listen.
You might find, like I have, that your wife never has to nag you about cutting the grass. In fact, she may get on you for wanting to cut it too often.
And for you guys stuck with only a push mower? Pray for your grass not to grow as quickly and find your peace in the air-conditioned comfort of your home.
The rest of us will make it up for you.