If Only All Problems Could be as Simple as Mowing the Lawn

I don’t like mowing the lawn. There are too many variables involved, and it never stops until the summer is over. Snow blowing? Bring it on. It only happens now and then, and so I have an easier time doing it when I need to. But the lawn . . . it keeps growing, whether you want it to or not. And sometimes when you want to mow it, it rains, or it’s oppressively hot. And there are bugs.

But even with all those annoyances, there are some good things to be said about mowing the lawn. It’s a problem that’s easy to identify and easy to fix. Go outside, use the lawnmower for an hour and a half or so, and you’ll be done. Better yet, it’s a problem that’s easy for other people to help with. I’m not the only one in the family who can mow the lawn. Denisa and TRC pitch in, and the job becomes that much easier. Worst case scenario, a friend or neighbor can come over and get the lawn mowed.

What I mean is that, no matter how bad that lawn mowing gets, or how big of a nuisance it is, in the end, it’s just that: a nuisance. It’s a problem with a built-in solution.

If only all problems could be like that. What if your child is dealing with a bully at school? (Note: these are sample problems, particularly chosen because they’re not problems I’m dealing with at the moment. I’m not looking for specific help. I’m just trying to explore a concept.) Where’s the easy solution? Step in, and you might cause even more trouble for him. Doing nothing only lets the problem fester. Approach the kid? The kid’s parents?

There’s a lawn there, but there’s no way to tell how to mow it.

It’s even harder when you’re seeing someone else have a problem that you don’t know how to help. I’ve had friends face enormous medical bills, or deaths in the family, or prolonged illness. How do you help with that? What can you do? I know the standard answers: be there for them, support them, show them you care. But at the end of the day, all I want to do is make those problems go away. I want them fixed. I want that lawn mowed.

Of course, even lawn mowing isn’t always straight forward. Don’t mow it long enough, and what could have been an easy fix becomes a big ordeal. I remember one year here in Maine when we missed mowing for a few weeks, and then it took forever, and we still had to rake the clippings off all the lawn. That wasn’t fun.

And here I am at the end of the blog post. Nothing really figured out. No bright conclusions reached. The best I can come up with is to treat other people’s problems the same way I would like them to treat mine. Offer support. Commiserate. Be a listening ear when one is needed. We’ve all got more than enough problems, after all. The least we can do is help out however we can. Even if it doesn’t fix anything.

Anyone else got anything bright to add? I’m all for advice . . .

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