Matthew 13:24-30 (NIV)Max helped me in the yard today. Jack was with my parents, Charlie was napping and Kristie was on the phone with her mom. Max saw me outside picking up loose sticks and yellowed out the door he’d come help as soon as he finished his snack. So I left some sticks for him and tried to weed out some of the overgrowth around our hosta plants. Since I wasn’t grabbing sticks, Max wasn’t interested in that any more. So he offered to “help” me pull up weeds.
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
The leading reason I am not a serious gardener, or even more than a little concerned about the quality of our grass, is because I have three boisterous sons who love to play outdoors. From April to October, I am reminded frequently of a quote I’ve seen attributed to baseball hall-of-famer Harmon Killebrew:
“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’ ”And so I was not terribly surprised when Max’s idea of helping was pulling weeds off at ground level, leaving the roots and giving me no idea where to go to dig. He did grab a couple of sticks at one point. I tried to lead him into tasks he could handle, and he did make a decent effort, but eventually he just gave up and went back to the garage. Though I enjoyed getting back to work without the distractions every 60 to 90 seconds, it took only a few minutes before I decided I should be done, too.
So I took my gloves into the garage, opened up a bottle of bubbles one of the boys got in their Easter baskets, sat down in the driveway and started blowing. In about four seconds Max was by my side with his own bottle of bubbles for me to open. Then he got out one of the bottles with the giant wand, the kind you have to stand up with and spin around for maximum efficiency. And we both blew bubbles for about 10 minutes until he decided he was done.
There’s no great moral here, no deep spiritual truth. Just a reminder — to myself, if nothing else — that some days there’s nothing more important than to spend 15 minutes blowing bubbles with your kid. The lesson on how to weed properly can wait for another day, probably several years down the road. The grass needs to be cut, but there will be plenty of daylight after work tomorrow. Today my kid needed me to just be there to have fun, and as soon as I realized that, mutual happiness was just a breath away.
A prayer for May 5:
Lord, thank you for simple pleasures. For warm spring days and pink sunsets. For low-key family dinners and children laughing in the yard. For quiet nights when adults are free to just talk about the day. You are the giver of all good things, and I try to be grateful each day for blessings too many to count. Please help me to be good seed, to grow and be fruitful in your love and to produce abundantly according to your desire for me and my life. Use me as you need me. Amen.