Gotta love spring time in Texas. All the rain greens everything right up. Trees start sprouting, bluebonnets come into full bloom, and the brown winter-worn lawns become a vibrant green – almost overnight! It’s time to get out the mower and keep that now fast-growing grass from getting out of control. Well, as soon as it stops raining …
After days of rain, the ground becomes so saturated that walking on it feels like walking on memory foam and leaves footprints in the soft soil. The wheels of the mower would also leave their mark - as ugly ruts in the grass. And no one wants to see that. So I wait.
Just about the time the ground dries out enough to mow, it rains again, and the velvety green carpet continues to grow. It’s a vicious cycle which leaves me to wonder if my little push mower will be able to handle the jungle that is to become of my yard … once the ground eventually dries out … and if it doesn’t rain again …
As spring draws to a close, the showers become less frequent allowing me to tackle this spring time mess. With the first beautiful day, I seize my opportunity.
And the mower won’t start.
Well, that’s not entirely true; it won’t turn over. And if it does, it stops after only a few seconds. So I attempt to diagnose the problem:
Gas - check.
Spark plug is secure and clean - check.
Oil level is good - check
Air filter is clean - definitely NOT check. So I head out to get a new one.
By the middle of the day, a bright yellow new air filter is in place. I give the cord a rip to test my handiwork, and the mower starts! Hooray! I let it run a minute to be sure - looks like a win.
But along with the end of spring comes the beginning of summer. And this afternoon, though beautiful, checks in with a UV index of 9, so I decide to wait until evening to mow in the cool of the day. While there still is one.
But the mower won’t start. Again.
Still a whole lotta Nope.
Meanwhile, the grass keeps growing … taller and thicker by the moment, it seems.
Frustrated at coming to the end of my knowledge about lawnmower repair, and the pressing urgency of the continuously growing grass, I decide to take a walk around my neighborhood.
Every freshly mowed lawn with its neat edges that I walk by judges me, and makes me feel like I’m “that neighbor” – the one whose yard looks like the owner is perpetually on vacation.
Not only is my grass unruly, but the edges are overgrown and creeping their way onto my driveway and the sidewalk.
My mower clearly and repeatedly said ‘No.’ But when I shifted my focus away from what I could not do, I was able to focus on what I could do. I could hear my edger say ‘Yes.'
When I have a problem I am unable to solve, perhaps a shift in my focus is all I need.
Every ‘No’ can be a ‘Yes’ to something else, if I let it.
Rather than muttering half-formed sentences at the one thing I cannot do, I can look for something that I can do. It may not solve the original problem, but at least I won’t be stuck there, paralyzed by that one thing I cannot do. Stepping away – shifting my focus – makes space for a solution to present itself to solve a different problem, or a different part of the same problem.
Life is full of challenges and opportunities. They come to us every day, like a smorgasbord, and we get to choose what we will do with the multitude of experiences awaiting us. It’s true that some things are put upon us without our request or consent, but we still get to decide how we will respond to them.
Any one of them can take us out.
Any one of them can take us to new heights.
We get to choose which battles to fight and which opportunities to grab ahold of.
Writing about widow life, grief, and general random ramblings.
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