Living in the Wide Open Spaces

Life has a way of expanding to fill the available space.

Little League games used to occupy Saturday mornings with hours of sunshine (and mosquitoes) and with chatting on the bleachers with other mums. However, a quick glance around my house reveals  our family has aged out of that particular American institution.  We’ve moved on, but even so, Saturday mornings are still booked. These days, though, I’m not a spectator.  I’m experiencing the great outdoors from the seat of a lawn mower.

If your goal in life is to live small and safe, beware the family business!  With its shifting parameters and employees who double as offspring and then have the audacity to grow up and move on to their own lucrative pursuits, our mowing business is challenging all my known boundaries.  Going from “I don’t do complicated machinery” to driving a zero-turn has been a harrowing experience, and one best accomplished in a wide-open field – for the safety of everyone!

There, with the startled butterflies rising along with the scent of fresh-cut grass, I’m gathered into the wildness of open sky alongside the coziness of trampled grasses where a deer bedded down the night before.

There, everything becomes an invitation:

See the wispy clouds, faithfully tending to their job of breaking up the stunning blue.
See the flock of hungry birds ransacking the honeysuckle bush.
See the honey bees, clearly all Threes on the Enneagram, hauling the makings for a flourishing life back to their far-away hive.

From my seat on the mower, inspiration is everywhere.  I have a job to do:  halt the advance of the Maine wilderness in this one location for this one season.

This I can do.
What a relief.


I’d love it if you would continue to read this story of how driving a lawn mower is impacting my sense of vocation and my conviction that God is active and present in my crazy, in-between life.  Click on over to SheLoves Magazine for more on the truth that even when our circumstances are shifting and the future seems unclear, we can step through God’s open door and find the wide-open field of His calling.


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25 thoughts on “Living in the Wide Open Spaces”

  1. Beautiful! Michele–poet on a lawn mower. ( ; I’m glad you’re taking opportunity to fashion wordsongs while you mow. Lovely! I can quite relate to being in that indistinct time between What-I-Do and What-I-Used-to-Do. I’m fairly sure most of the time that the best and most productive years of my life are past. But then… I consider Moses. Wandering about in the desert with a shepherd’s staff. And soon in conversation with the God who had chosen him for a whole new life-calling–shepherding His people. God’s parting words from that job interview: “And be sure to take your shepherd’s staff along…”

    Who knows what God will do with the skills you have cultivated through long years of shepherding your flock. I for one am anticipating good God-ordained things as you wield the staff in your hand! Thanks for taking time from the mowing to jot down the beauty ( :


    1. Ha! Luci Shaw used to call herself a “poet sorting socks” so I take your observation as a high compliment! And from your reports, I have a feeling that the time in between is going to get “worse” before it gets “better,” but I sure appreciate your thoughts on Moses.
      I’m 7 or 8 chapters into Jayber, wincing a little bit over the language which I had forgotten about, but loving the thoughts on calling (which I had also forgotten, but maybe they weren’t a crucial to me then).


  2. Michele, I love this! I imagine Abraham encountered the beauty of the wilderness as he traveled from one tent to another. God made himself known in His creation and you have captured it so well in this!


  3. You have two choices. You could complain about needing to mow the lawn, or you could open up your mind and spirit to receive and appreciate the glory of God and his world. I think you made the right choice!
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi


  4. Such a beautiful analogy of God’s new experiences for us in the different seasons of life. As soccer season gears up for my family, your post reminds me to enjoy the days that I know will pass quickly. Heading over to read the rest of your post.


    1. Valerie, so many seasons have come and gone. I guess I’m past the bleacher season and have moved into the band concert season with my youngest son. I’m loving the grandmother season! They do pass quickly, and I’m learning to savor the present.


  5. I think I’d like to spend an afternoon with you Michele! We have similar eyes – and I love gardening, writing, teaching…. I’ve heard Maine is spectacular. I can’t wait to read more of your story.


  6. “Life has a way of expanding to fill the available space.” Oh, wow! Yes, it does. I’m working hard to put some boundaries on life as we settle in and create our new normal here in West Virginia. I pray for God to guide me with all wisdom and discernment about what to fill my days and where to leave a little empty space. Blessings!


  7. I just love this: “There, with the startled butterflies rising along with the scent of fresh-cut grass, I’m gathered into the wildness of open sky alongside the coziness of trampled grasses where a deer bedded down the night before.” I grew up mowing the lawn. It was my job and I loved it because it was something I was “in charge of” but also peaceful at the same time.


    1. This field I’m describing is just exactly that way — such a great place to mow, mind-numbing-ly huge to the point where my brain goes into neutral for a while as I circle and circle the field.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Time on the lawn-mower allows for much speculation and opportunity to witness the wonder of His beautiful world. I LOVE mowing the lawn, but you are elevated into superwoman status as a woman who can operate a zero-turn mower! 🙂 In all seriousness, I love your words, friend and thank you for sharing it at the #GraceMoments Link up.


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