I just posted one of my highest rounds of golf this season.  In fact, my scores over the last several rounds on my home course have been well above what my golf handicap suggests I should be shooting.  This is exasperating.  A deteriorating golf game is just plain maddening.  Launching two balls out-of-bounds in the first five holes does little for my serenity, or my scoring.  I did settle down and made some golf shots I could be pleased with.

On the 14th tee I found out my 8 year-old friend Addison got the call from the Make-A-Wish foundation:  A limousine would pick her and her family up and take them to Washington D.C. to meet Jennifer Lopez and see her in concert tonight.  Meeting “J Lo” was Addison’s top choice.   Joy and sadness could not be more inextricably intertwined as I write those two last sentences.  ‘Bittersweet’ is simply an understatement.

It is moments like this that help me put my “problems” in better perspective.   Not everybody has a love/hate relationship with the game of golf as I do; but like with my own dance with cancer, even a rough day on the course offers a wealth of wisdom from which I can draw strength from.  Ironically, the simplest lessons are often the hardest to learn.

The basic objective of golf is to advance the ball by striking it as few times as possible until it gets in the hole.  Continue to do this for 18 holes.  There are rules of play and etiquette.  Respect for other golfers, the course, and the rules are an integral part of the game.   And it is just that.

Golf is just a game.  In two weeks, or even two days, I probably won’t remember what score my playing partners shot.  I suspect they won’t remember what I shot today either, but they will remember whether or not they enjoyed being with me for 3 ½ hours.  I am reminded respect is seldom measured purely by numbers.

One of the reasons I love (and hate) the game of golf is it seems it can never be mastered.  There is always something to work on.  Success on the course is not always measured in terms of the final score, but rather on how well I feel I played.  I have lost matches when I have played very well, and I have won matches where I felt I stunk up the course.   Mastery requires a seemingly illusive balance of humility, confidence, skill, luck, mental toughness and rhythm.  I know – why do I even try?

No matter how bad I may score, there is always at least one nugget of grace to be found.   In a year that I have lamented about my deteriorating play, I carded my first eagle (a 3 on a par 5!).  An even better example: Seeing Addison’s smiling face in the pictures her dad has been posting on Facebook today as the family enjoys their J. Lo adventure.

The ‘rub of the green’ is a term that means ‘luck’, and often refers to unexpected results.   Any golfer knows that when the golf ball hits the ground, anything can happen.  Sometimes the ball ends up in places we don’t like, or requires an extra stroke before one can advance it toward the hole. Sometimes it goes in the hole.  I don’t know how much prayer works on the golf course, but I suspect there is a lot of it going on.  Life is a lot like that:  From time to time, given the rub of the green, we all need help to advance the ball the best we can.

I hope the rub of the green lets Addison tell her granddaughter about the day she met J Lo.  If you are inclined to pray, this is would be a really good time to offer one up for Addison and her family.

       Addison and little sis Ava, Limo ride to J Lo concert 7-28-12

3 thoughts on “The Rub of the Green

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