Monday, March 23, 2009

Bermuda II: Agag and Lawn Envy

Back when we moved into our house the neighborhood was still under construction. 

That meant that our beautiful first home looked out on….

…thirty, muddy lots.

And a dumpster. 

But our youthful optimism would not be quelled.  No! We saw opportunity where other, less visionary types, might have seen a festering metal box of construction waste and half-eaten Taco Bell lunches.

And so, with grit and determination, I built garden paths out of the bricks we salvaged from those alters of waste. 

There was only one problem. 

No one was getting rid of gravel, sand, or rock dust.

And so, instead of using the tried and true method for building a walkway, I took those bricks and shoved them in the clay (which is all we had left after the developer had his way with our topsoil). 

That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two was using the free bricks.

You see, the bricks from the dumpsters were for building walls. 

They weren’t “pavers”. 

They had holes through the middle to let the cement bind to them better. 

Now fast-forward five years and you may be able to figure out how I spent my weekend.

I just spent two full days, on my hands and knees, pulling every brick up and removing the knotted mass of roots that had grown through all the holes.

Without being too gross, I once saw a picture (in a science textbook) of a pig’s intestine that had been blocked by parasitic worms. 

The roots really reminded me of that. 

They also reminded me that gardening is war.

I have, yet again, met General Bermuda on the battlefield. 

For those of you who remember my previous post about Bermuda grass, you’ll know that this plant is my sworn enemy. 

It’s my white whale.

It’s the Joker to my Batman.

The Capone to my Eliot Ness.

And it was those roots that had taken over my walkway.

So why, you may ask, do I still have Bermuda grass if I hate it so much?

The simple answer is “lawn envy”.

Bermuda grass fills in our lawn and, when the weather gets hot, it's a nice green color.

This hides the fact that we don’t have great grass in our yard. 

Having great grass is a mark of manliness in The South.

Not having great grass is shameful.

Just shameful.

But since I actually have work to do and can’t spend all day trimming individual blades of grass with scissors and singing “Eye Of The Tiger” to them, l allow my enemy to live in order to hide my own inadequacies. 

Now, I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that I’m dealing with Bermuda again while, in my quite time, I’m reading about Saul.

Here was a guy who did foolish things to hide his own inadequacies...a lot.

The particular situation I’m thinking of involves a king named Agag.

You see, God had told Saul to wipe out the Amalekites but, instead, he captures Agag, their king. 


I think it was the kingly equivalent to “lawn envy”. 

King envy. 

Saul wanted to be able to parade Agag around to show everyone how powerful he was compared to the other kings.

His kingly lawn was greener and had those cool, diamond-shaped mowing lines. 

Here's the irony: that is what cost him his kingdom and his life.

He didn’t deal with Amalekites and it was an Amalekite who ended up killing him.

(Actually Saul tried to commit suicide but was dying too slowly and an Amalekite finished him off)

Often it’s the things we don’t deal with that end up coming back to haunt us. 

If we’re honest, most of us are afraid of how messy things will look.

In the case of my lawn, I have bricks everywhere.  

It looks awful.

And, were I to try and kill off the Bermuda, I would have brown, dead sections all over my lawn. 

And that’s just shameful.

So I get the roots out of my walkway where it’s inconvenient but never actually kill it all off.

Fortunately, God has not allowed me to ignore “soul Bermuda”. 

I’m still in process, but those roots are coming out.

How’s your lawn?


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