What do mowing and a plate of spaghetti have in common?
The answer starts with a book titled “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti”. Did you ever read it? The book is full of insight and humor on the differences between how men and women function and process the events of their lives. The key word picture is that men divide their life into boxes and move from one box to another, their full attention being on the current box. This even includes an empty box where they can go to just sit and think about nothing. If someone comes along and asks them a question, they have to scramble to find another box that has words in it. On the other hand, women live their life like a bowl of spaghetti noodles with everything intertwined, connected and leading to another noodle. Nothing happens in isolation for a woman. Everything is connected somehow.
This is so true in our family. The latest example emerged while mowing the backyard.
Due to a prior commitment, my husband could not mow the whole yard on Saturday. I wanted to bless my husband and I wanted to spend some time outside since it was an exceptionally beautiful day. The obvious solution was to help him with the mowing. I volunteered to do the backyard. His only request was that I pull weeds first.
I hesitated as I was not sure I wanted to make that part of the blessing, but in my whole plate of noodles I could not find one good reason not to do it.
So when he went off to his commitment, I headed to the backyard and started pulling weeds.
A short time later, I filled the gas tank, yanked the cord and began mowing. Here is when the waffle vs. spaghetti noodles became apparent.
My husband mows for hours and do you know what he thinks about? Mowing. For hours he thinks about mowing. Not me. After one full circle around the yard I never thought about mowing again until I was almost done. I DID think about the yard but in a much more complicated way.
As I passed over the section of the yard where a swing set stood years ago, I began to follow the first noodle of thought. Memories of the girls swinging, giggling, and singing flooded my mind. That led to my thoughts of all the different childhood friends that played here with the girls. The backyard birthday carnivals, the entertaining home videos they wrote and filmed. The stories they acted out filled with adventure, comedy and pure silliness. Soon I was thinking about some of specific friends, about the kind of children they were, wondering about the kind of young adults they became.
I followed still other crazy noodles thinking: Huh, if any of our girl’s childhood friends become famous, I guess we’ll be able to say “I knew you when”. And we’ll probably have a home movie to prove it!
And more noodles…
I mowed around the trees thinking about the boys who came and climbed to the top. Were they experiencing that kind of success in their current endeavors?
I followed other noodles thinking about how ‘innocent’, not theologically, but in terms of world awareness, they all were as children. I remembered some of the hard times some of them have since experienced. I wondered how those events shaped them. The noodles kept intersecting…Did they walk with the Lord? What kind of influences did they have in their teens? Did we have any lasting influence on them as a family?
My noodles of thoughts continued to intersect, twist, and weave through memories, introspections, and meditations. Lost in thought, the time flew by. Eventually my mind came back to the mowing as I finished the last row of long grass.
I do not know which was more exhausting, the mowing or trying to make sense of my plate of spaghetti noodles. I covered a lot of ground in more ways than one. But in the end, the backyard looked the same as when my sweet husband mows thinking only about the mowing.
I thank God
for the many blessings my backyard represents.
I praise God
that He knows the answers to the many questions I pondered while mowing
even if I do not.
I celebrate the fact that while men are like waffles
and women are like spaghetti,
our great God is like neither.
He has His own way of thinking that makes Him totally ‘Other’.
And I and my spaghetti noodles are abundantly grateful for that.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”