I love doing it. I am not very good at it. I don’t have much time to enjoy it. I am speaking about golf, a sport which I along with many picked up for the first time or got back into during the Pandemic. The local golf club in Aspen is a beautiful and amazing municipal course.
Golf is a great sport for a variety of reasons including taking time to be with friends, getting outside and moving around, having fun, and turning electronics and phones off. In this day and age I find it to be particularly invaluable to take time simply “to be” without having to accomplish something. Golf, when I have or take the time, reminds me I am often far too busy and that maintaining a 24/7 schedule is not healthy.
I find golf to be immensely challenging. Some people are naturals when it comes to swinging. I’d say my swing largely reflects the movement of an elephant’s trunk and my chips look more like an unskilled carpenter hammering two by fours. I am just glad the people I typically play with are patient, fun loving, and out there without having to prove something.
Putting is one of the most challenging parts of the sport. Getting a ball to end up in a 4.24 inch diameter cup is no simple task, at least for me. When I putt, generally one of three things happens. I end up far short of the cup. The ball goes far beyond the cup. Or on rare occasions, the ball actually ends up in the cup.
The other afternoon while putting, I suddenly related to the ball. In life, like a golf ball on a green, sometimes I end up falling short. At other times I go too far, while on other occasions I hit the mark, spot on. My hunch is that this is true for most of us.
How many of us get it right all of the time? More often than not we either don’t do enough of something or we say more than should be said or do more than is needed. And for sure, like sinking a putt, we sometimes get it right.
That said, the best golfers I have known in my life, some of whom are professionals, have learned to take the game one shot at a time, including putting. When they fall short or go too far on the green, they understand that it is just one shot and that there will be others. They also recognize the wisdom in not gloating over sinking a putt. In other words, pros cut themselves some slack.
Last Sunday I mentioned the importance of cutting others and ourselves some slack. None of us sinks every putt. We are all fallible. None of us has it all down pat. I have come to believe that when we embrace this truth, when we cut others and ourselves slack, there is a lot of joy to be found in our imperfection. Imperfection creates room for humility, a sense of humor, space for needing other people, and the attitude necessary to become dependent upon God. Such things are some of the ingredients that lead to joy.
I understand that most of life is not a game, not like a game of golf, as much of what we have to respond to and deal with is far far more serious. Yet I have to wonder, would not life be richer and fuller and again more joyful if we remembered that none of us sinks every putt on every green.
I pray for us all that we will learn to take ourselves less seriously so that we take God more seriously, for ultimately life is so much better when we rely on the one that gets it right all the time, rather than ourselves. I’ll keep swinging out of the course but please, when you hear “fore” on course, please know you need to move, as it is likely that my ball is headed your way.