Saturday, February 26, 2011

Golf, Skype & the Westminster Shorter Catechism....

You know its a good day in Florida when the temperature is in the 70's and your golf score is in the 80's! Yesterday was relaxing from beginning to end, starting out with a long walk, moving on to stress-free golf at Walden Lake with good friends, then the evening with Rebekah, dinner and a movie.

What I enjoy about golf is the opportunity it provides to re-imagine the future at every new shot. Each moment is self-contained; every shot can be approached as a solitary experience, measured only against itself and by what is possible. The game is a rewarding challenge regardless of the total score, because the only shot that ever really counts is the one you're standing over.

"What a bunch of baloney!"
Who said that? Okay, I'll acknowledge that what I just wrote makes little if any sense to a lot of people who play golf. For someone who lost three balls over the past two holes, visited every known sand-trap on the front nine, or dribbled a ball 15 feet off the tee, barely reaching the cart path, the idea of salvaging a game that's going down the tubes fast sounds like pure fantasy.

But that doesn't have to be the case. Too many people approach golf the same way that they do life. They play "results focused" when the real joy is found in the process.

Think about it. I'm sure you know people who are more into accumulating wealth... toys... accolades... promotions... trophies... than enjoying the experience of actually living? They're missing out on life, consistently, and they're never satisfied. Really, what does it take to live well?

Force 5 Hurricane
Back when we lived in Pensacola, Hurricane Opal formed in the Gulf of Mexico and started wandering north. We weren't that concerned. We listened to the news one night and it was a Force 2, weakening, and wandering far to the west. The next morning it was a strong 4, aimed directly at Pensacola, and projected to be a 5 by landfall.

It was the only time we ever evacuated.

Long story short, Opal veered right at the last moment, lost strength, and hit Navarre Beach as a 3. The storm cut the island in half but Pensacola was sparred. But, in the process, we packed the mini-van in a hurry and gave each family member a medium-sized box to pack with stuff they felt they couldn't live without....

Other than the photo albums it really didn't amount to all that much.

Happiness is Skype and children you love:
When I got home from golf we Skyped Andrew in Italy (That's Rebekah talking with him as he shows her around "Casa di Drew" in the Chianti Region of Tuscany). He had some interior design quandary he wanted his Martha-Stewart-esque mother to help figure out. "The real goal of parenting," I wrote in one photo album, "is to raise our children to be self-sufficient and then move somewhere that's cool to visit."

Rather than accumulating "stuff", Andrew is loading up on experiences. Yes, we're a little concerned that he's heading to North Africa again on Monday - but we're thrilled beyond measure that he understands what it takes to live. Each moment is self-contained; and every day can be approached as a solitary experience, measured only against itself and by what is possible.

The point of living, the Westminster Shorter Catechism suggests, is "To know God and to enjoy God forever..." Enjoying God necessarily involves taking hold of life - moment by moment. And I believe that God measures us not against one-another, but by what is possible....


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