Cigarette Butts and Lawn Mowers



I was mowing my yard this afternoon.  I always pick up any trash that may be in the yard before I mow it.  I’ve found it is easier to pick up one piece of paper than to try to pick it up after it is cut into many pieces. Occasionally I will miss a really small piece.  It doesn’t make a lot of difference – – – – – – – unless it’s a cigarette butt!

I hit one of those today.  It swarmed all over the place.  After I yelled at myself for missing it as well as the person (whoever it was) who threw it in my yard, I began to think about the parallel with life.  I get a little upset with people who drop cigarette butts in my yard.  I should be even more upset with those who drop them in my life.  If I don’t get them out, and a “mower” comes along, they will “swarm all over the place.”  

What are the cigarette butts I’m talking about?  What about the little tidbits of gossip that someone may drop into my life?  Or the negative statements about work conditions, or town conditions, or just conditions in general?  Anyone of those little “cigarette butts” can swarm on us when a “mower” comes along such as a difficult person, an angry neighbor, or a family problem.

Maybe we need to clean those things out.  We can do that by removing them from our thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts and good attitudes.

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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  1. Great thoughts here. A few years back my friend Cory decided to stop tossing butts out there and the rest of us were suddenly struck by how often "butts" come out of our mouth. Every time he would bow out of a conversation was like a huge gong in my life to how negative I had become.

    I have a meeting that I try to avoid each week because it is full of chain smokers looking to ditch their butts at anyone who will listen. If I am going to be a part of the change I have to move beyond pointing out problems and start being part of the solution. I have also identified several mowers and try to avoid them. I think that I may have burned a resourceful bridge early in my current job because I told someone that this person was out to mow them down. That was a choice to build a healthy friendship with someone I trust over someone who would mow me down eventually.