When I was a kid I hated mowing the yard. One of the worst things my dad could ever say on a perfectly good Saturday was, “Well, we should probably mow the yard today.” I always thought he was too eager to mow – the grass didn’t even look that long! I’d much rather spend the day practicing wrestling moves on my sister, or blowing up my GI Joes, or playing football with Johnny, Jeremy and Dustin.
Now I love to mow the grass. The humming of the John Deere tractor drowns out even the loudest setting on my cell phone. Sometimes our one year-old son Sammy joins me, trying to take over the wheel. One and a half hours of meditation and driving in circles.
On Thursday I was just getting started, mowing the line along the horse fence behind our house. It’s a long stretch, about 150 yards long, and I was staring intently at the line I was creating (if my dad drilled anything into me when it came to mowing, it was straight lines!). I did a few laps back and forth when something caught my attention, and I looked up.
Two horses wandered along beside me. The August sun was bright as can be, without any hint of heat, and sent long shadows over the short grass. The pastures stretched out to where the forest began, a deep gray-green. Then the forest-covered hills, rising up around me on all sides.
What a beautiful sight.
I could have spent the next 90 minutes staring at the line, striving for perfection, and I would have missed out on that view. Of course, once I saw the view, I also could have completely disregarded the line (and probably drove into the horse fence or a tree).
This tension reminded me of life – we can spend every minute trying to get it perfectly right, all the while missing out on the beautiful things around us. Or we can totally disregard the line and run completely off the tracks. None of us gets the balance just right.
If you’re anything like me though, you overemphasize getting life just right – life and death hang in the balance of every decision. Where should I live? What job should I get? How will I make sure my kids’ lives turn out perfect?
Stop your mower this weekend, take a deep breath and look up.