I love keeping score. I love statistics. I have entered on my computer every score of every match I have played and where I placed. I know I have annoyed a few of my golf buddies by adding up the score in the middle of a round. I learned early on some of my golf buddies don’t want their scores recorded, which as a statistics buff I found odd, but I learned to live with this uncanny fact. Granted I learned that there was more I needed to control on the golf course besides my swing. I needed to control my attitude. Your opponents, sand traps, water and woods can create some real challenges and obstacles, but all of those are beyond my control. I found there was an attitude inside my head that if I did not control it will surely do me in.
I tried not worrying about the score for the first several holes. I learned that most pro golfers do not even look at the leader board until they are over half way through the course.
I tried not worrying about the ball I just sent into the water or the other one that just now landed me in the woods. The only swing that matters is your next swing. The present is the only thing that matters. Do your best now. The past is gone.
I tell myself most of all enjoy a beautiful day on a beautiful golf course with your buddies. After all aren’t friends what life is all about. What golfer on his death bed wants to be surrounded by his trophies? None. They all want to be surrounded by their family and friends. I agree with this concept, yet I know after a super bowl victory Tom Brady does not text on Twitter, “Spent a fun evening with friends playing football.”
So what is it about the game of golf that makes it such a gentleman’s game (or ladies game just the same) to the point that score rarely matters when playing with friends if it matters at all?
Today while reading about Tiger Woods’ drama off and on the golf course over the years something just as profound as it is simple and obvious dawned on me. Fist of all I do not mean to single Tiger out as an example. Fact is we all have our struggles and demons. The pressure placed on him in childhood may have been less than ideal. His own expectations in adulthood may have been unreasonable. Like many of us he tried so hard to control all of the obstacles around him that he lost control of himself. While becoming a famous household name he was known by millions, but did he know himself anymore? Admittedly he did not. Relationships were unsatisfying. Instead of seeing people as friends he only saw them as obstacles in his way of greatness.
This is when the profound, simple and obvious dawned on me. I also Googled Arnold Palmer this afternoon, and found when Arnold Palmer was on his death bed in a Pittsburg hospital he was surrounded by family and friends. He was not surrounded by his trophies and awards. People were not obstacles in his way of greatness. People were what Palmer’s life was all about.
I realized why so many of my golf buddies don’t keep score or at least not as meticulously as I do. The happiest person on the golf course is not the one with the best score. It is not the one with the most money in their wallet. The happiest people on the golf course are the ones who are at peace with themselves. They control their own attitude instead of controlling the people around them. Their integrity buys them peace in the woods and sand traps as well as on the fairways and greens.
The greatest opponent is the one inside your head. The greatest achievement in golf is to walk off the 18th green at peace with yourself. And a score card wont ever reveal the peace in your heart.
I sat down with pastor Harold Brewer and he shared with me ways we can have racial reconciliation.
The incredible story about how Oklahoma football star J.C. Watt’s uncle Pastor Wade Watts’ unconditional and relentless love led a white supremacist to leave to KKK and become a Christian. To read the story click here.
Avianca Flight 52 left Bogotá Columbia January 25, 1990 headed for JFK airport in New York. That particular day there were several storms on the eastern coast of the United States forcing flight 52 to go into holding patterns over a few cities to avoid the storms. Because of this once they got to New York they were literally running out of fuel. In only minutes they would be on empty. The cockpit radioed to the control tower that they were “running low on fuel.” The control tower did not take this as a signal of distress. They figured every flight from South America is low on fuel by the time they get to New York. But flight 52 was not just running low on fuel. They were literally running out of fuel! It was an emergency situation, but the cockpit was much too polite to be more assertive and tell the tower it was an emergency situation. To the air traffic controllers low on fuel did not mean on the verge of empty or emergency situation. So the tower put flight 52 into another holding pattern as other planes landed. While waiting Flight 52 tragically ran out of fuel and crashed on Long Island killing almost half of the 158 people on board.
During the investigation listening to the conversations on the black box it was discovered that the word “emergency” was never used by the cockpit. If the cockpit had been more assertive and used that word instead of just hinting at running low on fuel the tower would have put them first in the queue.
During these days of isolation or anytime really, you may be lonely or depressed and because of social distancing others may not pick up on it just like the control tower was not picking up on the hints given by the cockpit that there was an emergency. If you are depressed or lonely and need someone to talk to please do not leave subtle hints. Make it clear to those around you that you need help!
In my early 20’s I enjoyed going out to eat with friends on Sunday nights as a way to have a little fun before the weekend ended. One Sunday night I called a friend to see if he and his wife wanted to go to Mazzios. He told me they were tired and wanted to just stay in. I told them fine and I would talk to them later. As I began to hang up, my friend said, “Wait a minute William. Do you need someone to talk to? If so we can go.” I told my friend that I was just fine and just thought it would be fun to go out. That’s all. My friend replied, “Okay then we will just stay home and go out another time.” I thanked him and called another family that I met at Mazzios.
I have never forgotten that phone call. While the control tower failed to realize the emergency situation of flight 52, and the cockpit failed to make it clear that there was an emergency which led to a miscommunication and scores of deaths, my friend wanted to make sure there wasn’t an emergency situation he was not picking up on. He asked me to make it clear if I needed someone to talk to that night. He would not allow any miscommunication or leave anything to chance.
Please let’s all be like my friend that night. During these days of isolation and anytime really, let’s listen carefully and even ask our friends clearly and openly if they need someone to talk to. Ask plainly if someone may be lonely or depressed. Let’s not let anyone fall off our radar.
If you need help don’t leave hints. Spell it out clearly to your friends, family, pastors and teachers. Also listen carefully to those who may be crying for help. Don’t rely on hints. Be like my friend and ask plainly and clearly, “Do you need someone to talk to?”
Seventh-day Adventists are familiar with something Jesus said in the sermon on the mount.
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV
We understand that Jesus was endorsing the law. Some though have tried to say that once Jesus fulfilled everything that He then did away with the law. They claim Jesus said “till” all is fulfilled. So did Jesus mean the law would only last till He fulfilled everything on the cross? Well let’s look at how the world “till” is used in Scripture. Paul tells Timothy,
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:13 NKJV
Did Paul mean for Timothy to stop reading and exhorting with doctrine once he got there? After all he said, “Till I come.” Of course not. Just like today, if you child is struggling with her homework and you tell her, “I will be home to help you in a few minutes. Hang in there till I get there,” you don’t mean for her to give up once you get there. Just as by saying “till I get there” you did not mean for her to stop once you got there, so Jesus did not mean for us to stop keeping the law once He “fulfilled” it. By fulfilling the law Jesus showed us how to keep the law fully. To fill means to make full, and Jesus showed us how to keep the fullness of the law by fulfilling the law .Some have the idea that Jesus emptied the law by filling it. Yet logic shows us to fulfill is to make full and not to make empty.
We see this truth as it is in Jesus in Matthew 3:15 Jesus tells John to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness. Once Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism did he then abolish it? No. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus told his disciples to go baptize. By fulfilling baptism Jesus gave us all an example to continue following instead of discarding. Likewise by fulfilling the law Jesus gave us an example to continue in the law instead of discarding the law. We see that truth as it is in Jesus, that while no one was ever saved or will ever be saved by the law in either the Old or New Testament, the law is still our guide. Jesus shows us how to fulfill the law by being our example. He tells us, If you love me, Keep my commandments.” John 14;15.
I think its awesome how we all think we had the best mother in the world. That shows God gave each of us the perfect mother for us. I also sincerely am thankful for other mentors in my life besides my mother. I remember in 10th grade when my friend was moving out of state, when I told his family goodbye his mother gave me a piece of advice that I remember to to this day. She told me to always aim for the highest goals because you will never get more than what you aim for so just aim for the highest.