Mowing the Straight and Narrow


It’s spring. Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start you mowers!

When we finally bought a house with an actual yard, I was excited about mowing.

Yeah, I got over it.

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

  1. Ya gotta cut it often (i.e. before eagles build nests in it)
  2. And ya gotta cut it straight.

136200261⇐ The first few times I mowed, it looked like this. I finally figured out I needed to maintain a straight line. But how?


Years ago I asked a ballerina-girlfriend how she kept from losing balance every time she did those amazing turns. “Spotting,” she replied. Dancers pick something to focus on, spotting it again each time they come around. This keeps them from flying out of control, and throwing up on their nicely dressed opening night 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 to mowing, God’s word is to 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, he’d be a bit confused because he wouldn’t know what I know (or rather Who I know). But I think he’d be excited, nevertheless.

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, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Mowing the Straight and Narrow

  1. Good word Mitch we need the Word do much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rick says:

    Mitch, for added dimension, and you audio – video skills, how about as a back up for your writing here, a bit of mow-town music!? Great word! Thank you for sharing your walk of faith !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. numrhood says:

    isaiah 15:33 bad behavior corrupts good neighbors


  4. nancyehead says:

    Great metaphor! Great lesson, Mitch! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re good, start with funning storing, end up at great lesson and perfect metaphor. You should write this stuff down…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My Way Home Life says:

    Lovely, humorous parallel. Reminds me of when we first started teaching our teenagers to mow….😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. revruss1220 says:

    I love this! Perfect analogy (or is it a metaphor?) for the life in the spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my G d, this post. How do I love thee? Putting faith to paper isn’t for the faint of heart, but neither is faith. Well done. I am honored you follow me.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. hannahtk says:

    Haha! He makes the most beautiful patterns with our lives indeed…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Roos Ruse says:

    Excellent points and a message I won’t soon forget. Besides all that great spiritual food, I often wish I could mow different patterns in the lawn… I think that’s a perk in heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. carhicks says:

    Great metaphor as Spring is finally upon us. I need to mow this week. I now have something to ponds while I do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. smzang says:

    This puts a smile in the step as well as a spring.
    Love it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Squid says:

    Cool analogy, Mr. Mitch!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ron Whited says:

    From a fellow grass cutting connesieur, great post Mitch. Most of my best sermons were first preached to the birds from the seat of my tractor!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. ellie894 says:

    Well done Mitch 😊. I’m a terrible mower 🙃 but the grass doesn’t seem to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Gritty Momma says:

    Aw, I love this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Gritty Momma says:

    Reblogged this on Gritty Momma and commented:
    I really enjoyed these thoughts from Mitch. Especially since I was just thinking the other day how nice it would be to have a lawn to mow (we’re in the throes of looking for our next house, partly because our current home has a not-so-useful green space). 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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