Recently, I’ve been working on getting our mowers ready for the upcoming spring season. I knew there were issues with both mowers and that I was simply kicking the can down the road on facing them…
The push mower, especially, had always been difficult to start since we got it from a friend two years ago. Finally, at the start of this season, even after I went through my normal check-up including: changing oil, new air filter, new blade, cleaned out rear belt drive compartment, new spark plug….nothing….it came on once and then died. The pull cord would jerk out of my hands and snap my fingers even after waiting awhile between pulls.
About four hours later, with numerous options of troubleshooting tried and coming up negative, I think I had figured out the problem by process of elimination. The flywheel key must be partially sheared; after I had taken off the top plastic cover, pull cord casing, metal protective shroud, and flywheel nut it became apparent that this was the issue…great…an hour later of trying to get the flywheel off, and it hadn’t budged. A student and their dad helped me out by loaning me their flywheel puller (yes…a tool specific for this job besides my pry bar and hammer).
So after hours of fiddling (I haven’t even started to explain about the remanufactured John Deere riding mower starter that has electrical issues), we need to ask the question why? Why should any of us bother with doing this work ourselves and not just take it to a professional? It certainly would save us time, headache, and frustration…right?
Maybe…however, as one begins to tear into an engine it becomes quickly evident there are deeper rewards to this type of work and effort:
- The Joy of Being Messy
There is a simple joy in just getting dirty. After hours of sustained effort, I’m caked in grime and dirt. Rather than being frustrated, I cherish it. Often, we are judged by the world on our physical appearance or attire. In the shop we too face judgment…to what extent were we willing to sacrifice our own appearance for the sake of finding solutions. Rarely is problem solving a clean task…whether it is working with engines, people, or life’s struggles. If we can discover that by accepting these inevitable “messes”, we will in turn discover a deep joy resided within this process of continual living.
- Cultivating a Different Way of Thinking & Solving Problems
Working with engines forces us to rehash the way we perceive a problem. Engines are interrelated and connected together. If we have an issue its root cause could be a combination of factors that influence various systems within the engine. Everything needs to be running in synch for an engine to function properly. Our lives are similar, we have multiple systems in place that are deeply woven together. This includes, our values, our family, our work, our greater community. If one of these are out of synch it will bleed into other areas of our life and wreak havoc.
- Valuing Sustained Effort in all Seasons
Working on an engine requires sustained effort not only towards the “repair” sessions, but the countless “maintenance” sessions that will reduce our repair/breakdown sessions. I’m definitely a case example here…knew the engine had problems…but kept going anyways never checking deeper till it was literally not working. If we choose to move through life and our relationships without investing sustained effort to check-in and maintain them, then one day we will awake to broken relationships and personal hurt. Placing a value and then acting towards sustaining efforts in our lives requires a level of focus and discipline that, honestly, can be cultivated by working with our hands on difficult and challenging projects. In doing so we find ourselves engaged in the art of pushing through!
Pushing through and enduring challenges that require our attention helps forge our character; by placing ourselves in personal challenges working on solving problems at home, in our shops, in the garden, in the landscapes, or other projects; creates a safe environment for us to test ourselves for moments that will truly be trials.
Pushing through cannot be solely a ‘crisis’ or ‘challenge’ mindset. It should be a daily mindset of being proactive in tackling the little things each and everyday that will eventually add up to our character and the relationships that fill our lives.
Pushing through is more than about personal achievement of long standing goals, it is the effort we expend in bringing daily value within the lives around us, even when it is hard or personally challenging.
What should give us great hope is that we are not alone in these efforts of pushing through! We have each other, but even more importantly, we each have a helper that each of us can know in a deeply personal way…The Holy Spirit. Here are a few verses that can help offer encouragement:
John 14:15-18 – “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Romans 8:26-27 – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
We are NEVER alone in our trials, we choose to be alone, the Holy Spirit awaits our asking for comfort and help. When we push through the daily, we can push through with wind in our sails granted by this loving and powerful helper.
Cheers my friends, as we continually strive in growing our hearts towards the Lord and others in this season! As always, thanks for reading & growing with me, never hesitate to reach out and visit!