Killing more than grass

As I run the sidewalks of my neighborhood, I am struck by the number of people who don’t pay attention to cause and effect.

Some yards are meticulously tended. Grass is kept neatly trimmed, sidewalks and drives are edged and flowers are deadheaded. Mr. Delgado doesn’t do his own yard work, but he oversees the management of his yard. He is sure that it is tended in a timely manner and to his specifications. You won’t find a car parked on his grass or a large item left in his yard to yellow and kill the beautiful, healthy,  green blades.

There are some yards that are tended
without notice of cause and effect.

As I traipse by, I wonder if these homeowners are simply so intent on getting the job done (getting rid of rubbish)
that they don’t notice the damage created in the process.

For in the process of removing the trash/yard waste from the property
they drag or roll their containers out to the street
and sit them curbside, awaiting the waste management removal truck.
See, it’s not the removal of the trash that is the problem,
it is the placement … the execution … the action used
in the process of the removal
that causes the damage … the death … the carnage.

Some occupants don’t take notice
of the resting place of their barrel.
They bring it to the street’s edge
and leave it there on the grass.

Once a week, every week
the weight of that heavy container
smothers the grass …
isolates it from the sun …
and slowly leeches the life
from each lush, green blade
until, for some patches, all the grass there dies.

Some grass is more hearty and lasts a little longer than other varieties.
But, eventually, the careless one who continues to ignore their actions
will completely steal the life from their own yard
from root to blade
leaving a barren, empty patch of dirt exposed.

A simple movement of just a few feet …
just a little more time …
a little more effort
to put the can ON the street
rather than BESIDE the street
would have saved death.
It would have protected life.
It would have completely eliminated a wound … scar … barrenness.

And for some inattentive folk,
a huge, barren spot is formed …
all because they haven’t paid attention to
cause and effect.

My thoughts, as I run and think, are drawn to the parallel.
This is a physical representation of a spiritual …. an emotional happening, isn’t it?

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

It is so easy to stop short of the mark.
In simply living our lives without regard to cause and effect,
we go about our daily lives
without paying attention to the small details
that could save injury.
Just the smallest amount of extra energy and movement,
could welcome a new neighbor
or open a door for a stranger.
A little extra time to write a card, cook a meal or hug a neck
could keep a life green and growing.
Using extra self-control to keep from verbally wounding a child, a neighbor or co-worker
could eliminate the formation of a scar that struggles to heal.

And my sweet neighbor? Mrs. Molly?  She knows the boundaries.
She is in her yard
She’s probably nearing seventy years old,
but she gets on her roof to blow off the leaves.
She plants and waters, fertilizes and prunes
and she watches.

Yes, she puts her trash can on her grass,
but before the waste management team has made it down the block,
she has retrieved her can and put it back into place beside her carport.
There is no time for damage
because she is attentive.

I want to live this way: intentional. attentive. aware. alert.
I want pour my energies into going that extra few feet
that living my daily life
doesn’t damage what is green, lush and beautiful.
I want to use my words and actions to protect and promote life.

Lord, please help me pay attention to cause and effect
in every area of my life.  

2 thoughts on “Killing more than grass

  1. I keep encouraging my son and his family to consider looking at houses in Montclair, but they are put off by the places that are not kept up well :(.


    1. There are people who don’t keep their yards well, but I think that the number has stayed about the same in the five or six years that we’ve been here … and the percentage is very low. But, the neighborhood as a whole – all the wonderful people and events – make it well worth the price of a few less-than-meticulous homeowners. I love Montclair. love it!


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