Monday, July 9, 2018

Finding God on a Golf Course

For more than sixteen years, around the 4th of July, I've been going to a Jesuit vacation house near Waupaca, Wisconsin.  Every day, unless it rains or our bodies need a break, a group of us plays golf.  Recently I was on Relevant Radio and talked about finding God on vacation.  We all need a vacation,
Fr. Ed Mathie, S.J. 
but not a vacation from God who never takes a vacation from us.  In talking about finding God while on vacation I thought about all the ways that I encounter God on the golf course.

First, God is there in the beauty of Nature: the trees, the water, the sun, the bright blue skies the day after it rains, and the puffy clouds which my friends from Washington, DC tell me can't be found there.  All creation reveals something of the Creator's beauty.

Second, God is present in my friends whom I haven't seen in a year.  In the time we have together--a  chance to catch up on what we have been doing and to support one another, and in good-natured joking,  and in the generosity we share allowing one another "gimme" putts (which one guy says are putts "within the circle of friends") or the inevitable "mulligans" (on the first tee and tenth, or travelling, or when one really needs one), and in the praise we have for one another's good shots--God is present supporting, joking, being generous and forgiving, and giving compliments.

But I think the most important way that God is present to me on the golf course is in the lesson that I need for every shot.  When I golf my temptation is to think that I can control the outcome: that if I just put a little more "oomph" into the shot or direct it, then I'll have a good shot.  That never works. With every shot I try to practice the lesson of letting go of control, just taking an easy swing, and allowing the club to do the work. 

I need that lesson away from the golf course.  I can't control the outcomes of my prayer, my work, my life.  I can only take an easy "swing" and leave the outcome to God.

Golf is another way that I practice the popular saying, "Let go. Let God."

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