I had dreaded reseeding the west side of the church ever since I volunteered to do it six months ago. I knew that I was going to have to lug that rota-tiller out of the garage and somehow lift it into the back of the truck without breaking my back or causing a hernia.
The west side of the church was bare of grass in an area where a tree had kept the area in perpetual shade. We had gotten the tree trimmed so that sunshine could light up the area. Now I had to keep my word and put down grass seed.
Earlier in the day Andrea and I had gone over to the church for a meeting. While there we talked with a couple folks about a grumpy old guy whom I had been verbally accosted by about a week earlier.
I will admit that my attitude was not very forgiving or understanding of his insulting language or attitude. I made it very clear to everyone that I was greatly displeased with this person.
To top it off, Andrea suddenly told the group that she knew the guy and thought he was a nice guy. This, of course, was not what I was expecting. I figured she could jump in and back me up with a few choice words about the sour look on his face or dubious nature of his family lineage. She could have shown her support by at least coming up with a mother joke like, “his mom was so dumb she had to study for a urine test”.
No…….it didn’t go that way. She tried to convince me that he wasn’t that bad of a guy, but it didn’t help. It just made me even more dour in my attitude about him.
Then to top things off, we were leaving the church after the meeting . The grumpy old guy was out in his yard. As we walked to our car, Andrea gave the guy a big friendly wave and he waved back at her.
I have to admit having the strong desire to wave at him also, but to do it as a single-finger gesture.
We were outside the church, though, so I went against my insticts and acted grown up…..I got in the car and pouted.
After some lunch we went home. It was a beautiful sunny April afternoon. This was a perfect day to go till the church yard and plant grass.
Much as I had dreaded it, I managed to pry myself from the recliner and back the truck up to the garage. I got out and cleaned the dust and cobwebs off the rotta-tiller. I even tried the motor and it started on the very first pull of the chord. Not bad…this might just turn out ok.
I then picked up the rota-tiller and heaved it up into the truck.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a weight-lifter or lumber jack. When I say I heaved it into the truck I mean that I lifted so hard that spit came out of my lips, my eyes bugged out, and I could feel the cartilage in my back turning to powdered sugar. I’m pretty sure I sort of made a squeaking noise as I brought my right knee up to help push it upwards.
As soon as it was in the truck enough to where I thought it wouldn’t fall back on top of me I turned around to sort of….walk it off…….I was dizzy for several seconds as my body and brain fought over the blood that was left in my body.
As I look back on it, I realize that the good lord is patient. He will let you walk down a path and patiently wait for you to get to that perfect place where the lesson is taught.
I think that as I heaved that machine into the truck, he had to have been giggling. As he watched from above, he held his hand up to daddy and said no not yet, just wait…..This will be good.
Meanwhile I left the house and stopped at the gas station to fill the 5 gallon gas can. The full can weighs over 30 pounds and after lifting the machine into the truck, I was having a little trouble lifting the full gas can the five feet up and into the truck bed. I was starting to drag and my back was telling me that I had exceeded my structural limits. Pain was quickly setting in.
Again God held up his hand to Daddy and said not yet Wilbur, just wait. He’s going to learn from this and I have all the time in the world to teach him.
We then drove over to the church. I again unloaded that rota-tiller. I grabbed it and pulled it out at which point it just sort of fell to the street. I just managed to slow it enough to where it didn’t break into pieces. In trying to slow it I got grease all over the new shirt and clean jeans. I then filled the gas tank and started it up.
At this moment God said to the small group gathered around him and watching from above,,”…wait for it,…. wait for it”.
I started running the tiller and breaking up the ground. As I tilled the ground, I looked over at Andrea who was watching me. I then complained again about that grumpy old guy. I said a few choice words about how I felt about him and suddenly……
……….God dropped his hand like he was waving the checkered flag at a race and said “…NOW!…”
Suddenly,… without warning,… the rota-tiller quit………….
For some strange reason the first thought in my head was not “Darn that rota-tiller!” or even, to quote the good lord, “My God, My God Why hath thou forsaken me?”
The first thought in my mind was “I should have known better. I totally deserved this”. I felt like a little kid in school who got caught screwing up and realized he’d messed up.
Now, I’m not saying God broke the rota-tiller. I don’t think that’s his style. He knows that a very effective way of teaching is when you do it in a way where the student arrives at the answer on their own. When you lead them down the path to a point where they discover the lesson to be learned.
I think God had an idea that the rota-tiller was about to break. He might have even led me to the decision to till that church yard on that day.
What I’m sure of is that he knows me better than I do. He was aware that I knew better than to grouse about a mean old man instead of ignoring his bad attitude and forgiving him for his offense.
I don’t really believe that the tiller broke as punishment for my failure to behave as a good person. I do, however, believe that the Good Lord is not above teaching me a lesson with a carefully timed kick in the rear….