Mowing the Straight and Narrow


I was excited about mowing. We lived in an apartment when we first got married. Then a condo. Now we finally had a home with a yard, and I was excited about mowing!

I got over it. 

Still, if ya got grass, ya gotta mow, and that means ya gotta:

  1. Cut it often (before, say, eagles build nests in it) and
  2. Cut it straight

The first few times I mowed, it looked like this:

136200261I finally figured out I needed to maintain a straight line.

But how?

Spotting!  Years ago I asked a ballerina-girlfriend how she kept from losing balance every time she did those amazing turns. “Spotting,” she said. Dancers pick something to focus on, spotting it again each time they come around. This keeps them from flying out of control. And from throwing up on their nicely dressed audience.

It was worth a try.  I began looking at shadows on the grass and in the bushes at the edge of the yard. The result was…well…not as bad as the zero-technique approach. But pretty bad, nevertheless. The problem was that the shadows were constantly shifting.

So I tried following my own feet.

Yeah, that was a disaster.

So I began focusing on permanent things. And on my point of destination.  Things like trees and window shutters. Result?  Straight, beautiful lines! I even managed to create some pretty patterns. Then one day, while I was mowing, it occurred to me:

What trees are for mowing, God’s word is for my life.

Before entering a life of faith, I’d lived by focusing on either: 1) the constantly changing light and shadows of modern culture, or, 2) Myself.

Yeah, that was a disaster.

God’s word (illuminated by his Spirit dwelling in me) became my Tree, my permanent, unchanging focus–my destination point. And this has produced a consistency, a purpose, yes, even a beauty that I would never have dreamed possible. If the old atheist/agnostic/seeker me could see the direction my life has taken since I learned to “spot,” he’d be…well, a bit confused because he wouldn’t know what I know (or rather Who I know). But he’d be excited.

More excited than I’ll ever be about mowing.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” 

~Isaiah 40:8


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Mowing the Straight and Narrow

  1. Heather says:

    Great analogy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kayla Johnson says:

    Great analogy. I love the reminder to keep focused on God’s Word instead of culture or self. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lucie says:

    God is your “tree” and my “rock”……I “got over” my love for mowing, too…still like the smell of fresh cut grass, though, but have no problem with the landscaper giving our lawn a trim once in awhile…What a lovely home and yard. We, also, started out in a townhome with no lawn, etc. Now with a home and landscaping, we’re beginning to wonder if a ONE FLOOR townhome would be the way to go for 2 old, Buddha belly senior citizens!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    I plowed through the forest of dandelions in my yard this weekend, and thought it might be a good time to re-share this:


  5. Pingback: Mowing the Straight and Narrow | Mitch Teemley | Smart

  6. oneta hayes says:

    Great writing, great thought – thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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