Exigency

My son mowed the lawn yesterday with the weed eater.

My wife and I looked out at him from the house, swinging away with the spinning tines, hacking at the grass. Uneven. Bare, in the spots where either the ground moved too much or he did. Ugly is the word that comes to mind, but mowed. Growing up my Dad perfected mowing the lawn at my childhood home: two passes around the outside and then overlapping and opposing 45-degree swaths. It looked like a golf course or the outfield of a professional ballpark. Watered, fed, and coiffed his yard was something to behold. I remember getting into trouble – sometime in my middle school years – because I mowed a “G” into a front section of grass. I thought it looked good and obviously it was appropriate. He thought otherwise.

The sound of the weed eater yesterday fighting against both the length of the grass and the size of the yard brought back the memories of my own chores, and the realization of the rule that I now embrace in life of “whatever works”. Sure, Jonah mowed the lawn with a weed eater: but he mowed it. Vince Lombardi once said, “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” I don’t care how he mowed it, just that he got it done. This translates a lot into fighting and tactics and training for the fight: I don’t care how you hit ’em, just hit ’em. There are more effective ways to “hit” and there are more efficient ways to “hit” but don’t lose sight of one of the most important ways: the exigent one. Hitting beats not hitting when hitting is needed.

I would rather the lawn be cut with a weed eater than not cut at all. Jonah will learn the more effective ways. Midway through his afternoon you could see him thinking about a more efficient way. But it was hard to argue with his exigent way: any direction, any pace, any thing was no match for that screaming string. Jonah is learning what a lot of us learned yet choose to ignore: it is not about the tool, it is about the willingness to get the job done. Don’t get hung up on the process and lose sight of the goal.

So grab a fork, the roses need tending.

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