I leaned back on my porch swing, closed my eyes, and slowly rocked, taking a moment simply to breathe. It had been a long day of new plans and new information. My body and my mind were beyond tired. Beyond worn. Numb, really. I was so weary that I had just gone numb. I took in the sounds around me as I savored the feeling of the perfect breeze that had graced this fall day. I heard the wind chimes softly nudging each other to produce a deep mournful melody above my head, in agreement with the soulful weight of the moment. The creaking of dated chains upon aged wood kept time with the gentle rocking, providing a pattern of a predictable and comforting rhythm. The rustling of the dry, swirling leaves drifting across the yard, aiming to travel far on the arms of the wind without being caught by fence or bush. It was as if nature understood and acknowledged the mood that consumed me.
The hum of a mower in the distance caught my attention, and I opened my eyes, scanning for the source. I watched a neighbor down the road ride from one end of the yard to the other, likely getting in one last honey-do before the changing seasons eliminated the need for the ongoing battle of the blade. I watched him drive back and forth. Across the yard, turn in a circle, and back again. He repeated the movements again and again as I stared, happy to have nothing else to do right now but stare. Happy to process nothing, soothed by another display of repetitiveness that required no thought or action from me.
But something seemed out of place.
He was mowing the grass, but he had not really moved.
I discovered that even though he had moved from one side of the yard to the other, he had not shifted away from the one or two lines he was mowing. I watched with new curiosity as I saw him mow the same place again and again and again. A lightbulb flickered on as I realized what he was doing. He was riding across the newly fallen piles of leaves, using the mower to chop them up into mulch. Each pass he took, the piles became smaller and smaller. Each crossing broke the leaves apart into pieces, chopping the brittle foliage into even more jagged versions of themselves. He continued the barrage upon the landscape, reducing the once full of life symbols of growth into insignificance, until they eventually disappeared among the fading grass. Now their only job would be to break down into food for the worms.
At that moment, I realized I felt like those leaves. I felt like life was chopping away at me one stressor at a time, eventually reducing me to nothing of significance. This season seemed like a mower was passing over again and again, blades coming at me before I could drift off somewhere free on the arms of the wind. Just one pass after another, leaving what was already brittle more jagged. More tired. More numb. I couldn’t even seem to move out of the way.
And I suspect the truth. The truth that the enemy knows exactly how I feel, for he is the one mowing. He knows how to cross the same path again and again, hitting the same spot one more time. He knows how to be persistent and how to wear me down after I have fallen, driving me into the ground, hiding me in small pieces out of view.
But I also know the rest of the story.
I know my God won’t leave me broken.
I know that more beautiful leaves will fall upon this lawn. If not this season, then the next. New growth will appear high among the trees, new lessons will be learned, new hope will be found, new laughter will replace this season’s hardships. I also know that this process will happen again and again in my life and the cycle will repeat, but my God is ready for every single instance. Falling does not surprise Him. He is able to put me back together again no matter how small I feel. No matter how fragile. No matter how jagged. He specializes in broken. There is no weapon that will stand and no blade that can overcome my God.
I will have many days I that I will feel like those leaves. I may see the mower coming for me, I may not. I may want to lie there on the ground and succumb to my brokenness, giving in to pure exhaustion from being mowed down by life. But my God won’t give up on me. He heals the brokenhearted. He binds up their wounds. Mine and yours.
Hang on my friend, a new season will come.
Lord, sometimes this life leaves me feeling jagged and mowed over. I ask you in those moments to allow me to rely on your strength and not my own, for I know you can mend anything, including this heart.