Photo and Commentary ©2018 by Maylan Schurch
Friday and Sabbath, July 13 and 14, 2018

No, neither of the above lawns is mine, but they’re two side-by-side lawns in our neighborhood. And they provide an interesting insight into the psychology of lawn care.

The lawn on the right, as you can see, suffers from lack of water. It has not always been this way. The owner of that house was once an obsessive lawn-maintainer. As you can see, he still cuts his grass very close to the bone—which the sages say isn’t the healthiest for a happy lawn. Still, time was when his grass was an earnest green, and I once even saw him methodically seeding a sparse patch. But now everything’s gone brown.

The lawn on the left used to look spotty, with a liberal supply of dandelions. But someone has taken it vigorously in hand, and has applied generous quantities of water plus something like Miracle-Gro, and has produced a lush lawn.

So what has happened here? Vigilance grown lazy, on the right? Laziness grown vigilant, on the left?

Maybe, but it could also be part of the Great Pacific Northwest Lawn Care Cycle. I’ve gone through this cycle myself. Phase One is the desperate need to keep one’s head up in the neighborhood by keeping one’s lawn at least as green as that of the neighbor with the greenest thumb.

Phase Two is when (Phase One being tougher than you thought it would be) you moan and lament to a long-time Northwesterner about your browning lawn. The long-timer says philosophically, “Oh, it’ll grow back.” And sure enough, when the rains return in early fall, it does—if there’s enough grass to work with.

So our neighbor on the left may be in the middle of Phase One. The neighbor on the right has graduated to Phase Two. If you look closely, you’ll see that his lawn isn’t patchy with bare spots—there’s plenty of grass there waiting to be resurrected. His lawn will never look as lush as the Phase One-er’s, but that’s okay. The Phase Two-er has decided that there are many more important things to do than grow the perfect lawn, and is probably doing them right now, even as we speak.

I believe that the Bible is a down-to-earth practical Phase Two book. (There’s no Bible verse about maintaining perfect lawns, by the way. Yet in Genesis 2:15, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” That’s balance.) Because God lets it firmly be known that He values most not what’s on the outside but what’s on the inside. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God is helping the prophet Samuel select a new king for Israel. Samuel was bedazzled by Farmer Jesse’s stalwart older sons, but God had His eye on David, the youngest. God told Samuel, “. . . For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Balance. Reordering priorities God’s way. A recipe for a happy eternity.

(So what’s my own lawn like? Somewhere on the spectrum between the two above. Balance, remember?)

You’ll find several Bible verses which can help to bring balance to a life of stress, at the link just below: