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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Small Victories

May 16th, 2006

About a month ago I noticed my lawn beginning to wake up. Understand, my patch of backyard grass takes all of five minutes to cut. I had five minutes so I rolled out the mower. It never takes more than two pulls for the Briggs & Stratton to fire up. Yet on this day, it wasn’t starting. Adjust the choke, check the spark plug, check the gas, nothing helped. Frustrated, (ok, angry) I yanked on the rip cord as fast as I could, over and over and over and over. The only thing the rip cord ripped was the skin off my finger.

Funny that the scraggly looking lawn didn’t bother me until I went to cut it and couldn’t. Then it drove me nuts. I left the stubborn mule of a mower with a couple choice words and went into the house.

Being busy with work and routine over the past few weeks, I didn’t have time to take it in for repairs. So it just sat there, smugly reminding me of what it could, but wouldn’t do.

A couple days ago I looked at the lawn and realized a decision had to be made. I either had to get the lawn mower fixed or rent a hay baler. Knowing I’d just get mad all over again if I tried to start it, I tried anyway. On the first pull the engine took off like a scalded cat. The happy surprise of grass cutting potential quickly turned to the urgent, serious thought of “don’t let it die or it won’t start again.” For me, a lawn mower that quits after one stripe of cut grass is like your barber closing up shop in the middle of your haircut.

Listening to every fluctuation of engine noise, I babied the green machine through the tall rye and Bermuda and didn’t let up on the safety kill switch handle until the turf had an even shave.

Victories.

We celebrate the big ones. Graduations. Promotions. A series deciding Game 7 win. Landing the big account. Becoming fully potty trained. The big victories stand out because they are, well, big. They don’t happen every day. And because they don’t, we tend to remember them.

We don’t give much thought to small victories. But we should celebrate them more than we do. If for no other reason than there’s more of them to celebrate. Like your three year old making it all the way across the carpet without dumping their juice. A morning’s worth of work that doesn’t spill over into the afternoon. A post-surgery check up that shows you’re on the way to full recovery. Fighting rush hour traffic and still arriving on time. Hearing your kids say “please” and “thank you” to the server at the cafĂ© without being prompted. And yes, a mower that starts on the first pull.

There is an unintended benefit to celebrating small victories. Celebrating small victories grounds us in the present moment. For this moment, my grass is cut. I smile and feel good and go back to the window just to look. For this moment, my yard looks great. It will be scraggly again in a week. Who knows if the mower will start next time? It might not. I might rip some more skin off my finger trying to make it run. But for this day, it’s all good.

And this day is all we have.

Celebrate the small victories today.

If my mower starts, it’s party time.