Growing up, I was in charge of several chores - dishes, my bathroom, my bedroom, and mowing the yard. I HATED mowing! HATED IT! I hated pushing the mower around my parents' half-acre, so much so that I would go slowly or only mow half the width of the mower... I was hoping if it took me too long, my parents would finish for me out of frustration. It never worked. So instead, I would talk to myself about how much I hated mowing and hated my parents. In fact, I remember once being so angry that I was mowing while my mom and sister were swinging on the front porch reading and watching me mow. I was muttering about all of this, when my mom shouted out to me, "I can hear everything you are saying, you know!" Well, that shut me up pretty quickly since what I was saying wasn't very nice at all!
Now that I am a mother, it finally occurs to me that she probably couldn't hear me over the sound of the mower. She probably just wanted me to think that she could hear me, and it worked. Smart mom!
Finally, my parents bought a riding mower, and you'd think I would have enjoyed mowing at least a little more. But really, it was still time spent that I'd rather have spent a million other ways... and the riding mower was more difficult to get around trees on. I was smacked in the face many times by pine tree branches!
I became even more bitter about mowing when it was my sister's turn to begin mowing, but wouldn't you know that since she takes after the shorter people in the family, her feet couldn't reach the brakes. For some reason, my dad thought that meant she shouldn't be mowing at all. Hello! She could push like I did, or she could push the brake with a really long stick! So, I was stuck doing it anyway... punished for my height. The injustice!!!
When I got married, I made sure and waited until I found a man's man... ya know, the kind of guy that likes to hike and hunt and "cook outdoors" (as Mulan says)... that way, I would never have to mow again! Granted, he is a busy guy, so the mowing doesn't get done every week. My man works 1 1/2 jobs, and sometimes more! And really, I couldn't care less how often the yard gets mowed, so he'll never hear from me that he needs to get it done!
But during the week of our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband had been booked every evening after work for almost 2 weeks solid, and his weekends were just as full! He kept walking by the windows and commenting that he was sorry he hadn't been able to get around to mowing the yard.
We also have neighbors who have pristine yard work, flowerbeds, etc... and I know Kyle feels the pressure to be a good neighbor, so many times he will sacrifice something he wants to do to keep the grass at an acceptable height.
Each time Kyle would say something about not having time to mow, I would think back to a book I read that I HIGHLY SUGGEST for any woman who is married, engaged, dating, or simply thinks that someday they would like to be married. The book is called Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. It is such a great, practical book expounding on the ideas found in Titus 2 that the older women in the church should be teaching the younger women.
There is one point in the book where she talks about a pastor several centuries ago realizing in the middle of his studies that he had not paid attention to the timing of the harvest. He asks his wife to see to it, and she responds that it was done weeks before.
She knew he was busy. She knew what needed to be done. She knew her purpose - to be his helper in this life. That is what being a spouse is all about, right?!
Now, Kyle had no clue that each time he said this (which may have only been once or twice, but I was really stewing over it in my mind many more times than that) that I was having an internal struggle - do I mow (yuck) for him?
I'll share some of my thoughts:
"He really doesn't have time, and I know it would ease his mind if it got done."
"But I really hate mowing. He'll feel bad if I do it, because he knows I hate it. I don't want to make him feel bad!"
"Yeah, but in that book that one wife took care of the harvest and never even mentioned it to her husband until he asked her. She was so loving to do that."
"Yeah, but I bet she hired someone to actually do the harvesting. I don't really want to hire someone to mow the yard. That's silly when I am perfectly able."
"But in that book, Carolyn also talks about spending less time in the kitchen and more time in the bedroom... like instead of slaving over a gourmet meal and then being too tired for sex... most men would be thrilled with peanut butter and jelly and more sex... besides, he has no idea that I thought about mowing the yard, so he won't be disappointed if I don't mow!"
"Oh, just mow the stupid yard for your awesome husband!"
So, I set out during nap time that day to mow the yard! I realized very quickly how much of an incline our yard has to it - a huge one! It looks cool, but it isn't cool to push a mower up and down it! So I mowed it sideways, which was wavy and bumpy... who cares what it looks like, right?!
I'll be honest and say that halfway through the backyard, I was thinking that I should have listened to myself about the "sex is enough" thing. I'll also admit that I am so out of shape that I couldn't finish the whole yard!
But the look on his face when he realized what I had done for him was priceless. Yes, he felt guilty, but very grateful. But mostly, I know he was relieved to get that time back he would have had to spend out there cutting stupid grass so that he could do something more meaningful, ya know like spend time with me!
I'm glad I mowed the yard - for him. But I'm also glad I hadn't mowed in the past 5 years!!!
Here's to another 5!!!