Two Men and a Lawnmower (click to comment)


Years ago a guy named Vance moved in next door. Vance and I hit if off. I was certain that I had found a life long friend, until Vance insulted my lawnmower. To add insult to injury, one week later my lawnmower died, I had to humble myself and ask to borrow Vance’s. He was more than happy to let me and I cut our grass in big wide manly swaths. A week later I rang Vance’s doorbell to borrow it again. No one was home. We were such good friends I thought; I’ll just borrow it.

Things were going well, until I came to a large stump two inches out of the ground. BAAANG! The mower stopped dead, never to start again.  What would you do? When I was a boy, my father told me exactly what to do. “If ever you borrow something,” he said, “return it.” So I pushed the lawnmower into the exact spot from which it was taken.  And left on a five day business trip to Washington, DC.

When I got home, Vance was waiting. He motioned me to the backyard where he had poured a bottle of Ketchup red like blood on the stump, and painted the outline of a lawnmower in the grass. “We have a suspect,” he said. Then he took me to the garden, where he’d buried the lawnmower and erected a tombstone. “Here lies Mr. Mower. A life so quickly taken, by a hand so quick to take. He will never mow what life had in the grass ahead of him.”

It’s not hard to understand why Vance is one of my best friends today. Vance knows what every good friend knows: if you expect perfection from people, your whole life will be a series of disappointments and complaints. But lower your expectations a bit, accept others as the imperfect creatures all of us are, you may find yourself a lifelong friend.

When I read Proverbs 17:9, I think of Vance: “Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love, telling about them separates close friends.” It is impossible to travel the path to healing and joy without forgiveness. A few weeks later, Vance’s wife visited a hardware store and entered a draw for a shiny new lawnmower. And she won. Today, because of me, they have a red lawnmower in their backyard.  I haven’t tried borrowing it. But I do keep reminding Vance just how fortunate he is to have me for a friend.

Do you have a friend like Vance? Tell us about them.


Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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