Sunday, July 21, 2013

Flog is Golf spelled backwards

I believe it was Mark Twain who said that, "Golf is a good walk spoiled." and I think Salada tea bags had the quote, "Golf is flog spelled backwards." What do they know.

Now that I have given you the heads up about the subject of this post, I need to say that I did a search through my blog and I found 2 posts that were just about golf and only 7 referencing golf at all. What spurred on this search and deciding to write a post about golf? Phil Mickelson winning The Open (as it is called across the Big Pond which here we call The British Open), his caddie Bones choked up with emotion and picking up a book, Extraordinary Golf The Art of the Possible which I read 11 years ago. I don't remember the last time that I watched a whole round of the televised final day of a Major tournament, perhaps when I was pregnant with Grace 24 years ago?

It was enjoyable!  I allowed myself to just get caught up in the changing leader board that was until Phil Mickelson took the lead, didn't look back, and birdied 4 of his last 6 holes. There was drama. Men against the course not just trying to beat each other but having to deal with the condition and the ever changing wind off of the North Sea. Golf is a game of mastering yourself, controlling your emotions, in links golf going after your target and having to play strategically because there is not a whole lot of forgiveness on a links course and some of those bunkers you might want to just die in. One of the commentators said as Phil was walking up the fairway of the 18th hole,  "this is when you need to pay attention to your breathing and be mindful of your walk."

When the pressures of life come upon us, HELLO!  "This is when you need to pay attention to your breathing and be mindful of your walk." And for those of us who are on the pilgrim highway doing our best to walk in a manner worthy of the LORD, is this not great advise for us too? Recently, I had a high blood pressure reading during a regular physical. (yesterday I was 124/68) So, I needed to have it checked 4 weeks in a row. Dan said, when you are in the waiting room just take 10 deep breathes. (Anyone remember the "cleansing breath" from childbirth classes?)  If we can remember to just pay attention to our breathing, then I think that this will help us to exercise self control when we find ourselves in the situation where the adrenaline is running high, when the pressures of life are getting to us. Even if one suffers from "white coat" anxiety.

Some say, how boring to watch golf on TV. Frankly, I would rather play golf than watch it, but there is something special about the 4 major championships, there is hunger and the competition is at its highest level.  I really was not interested in Tiger winning but I was thinking that today's round must have been awkward with his old caddie, Steve Williams on Adam Scott's bag. At the start of today, I wanted Adam Scott to win, since it was an opportunity to redeem himself from last year (where he lost to Ernie Els after leading by 4 shots on the final day.) And it would have been a great win for Lee Westwood who is described as a young 40 year old and has been in contention 8 times for a major without a win. Ian Poulter, cleverly dressed Englishman showed grit and guts and it was easy to say "Go!" as he eagled the 9th hole and birdied 10, 11, and 12. Phil Mickelson is a man with a lot of class and character. It was great to watch him take command. To witness the love of his wife and 3 children just off of the 18th green they had a family hug and how within that great moment of vulnerability ignored the cameras capturing that moment and remaining in the moment.

And now my history with this game that we created by my ancestors in the Kingdom of Scotland. It was not on my radar growing up. Dan introduced me to this game when we were newly dating. He bought me my first set of clubs, they were steel shafts. While tackling this new sport for me, I was able to strike the ball, do something right handed and during my first season chip it in from off the green probably 6 times. (1986) It has probably been a total of 6 since then. Needless to say, I was bit by the bug.
Now, it just so happens that neither Dan nor I have been out for a round this year.  My hope is that it will be sooner rather than later. It is something that Dan and I enjoy doing together. At some point I think it would be fun to play in a ladies league, the only problem I see with that is that I tend to be a bit competitive and if I were to join something  that I would want to compete, like have a shot at scoring well and winning!  (It has been years since I did something like that. It was a humbling experience, since I am a bit of a hacker and I have never considered myself a "golfer" that would require some consistency on my part, a handicap and a membership somewhere.)

There are things about the game I really love: being outdoors usually in a combination of a natural setting and man's creativity in the architecture of the course, and the maintenance of the greens keepers. Being active, to use my body and play a target game. And one of the best parts that I love about being out on a course is that golf requires quiet and a loud person like me, needs time to be quiet. There is golf etiquette that Dan was diligent to teach me. Not everyone out playing minds or perhaps even knows the etiquette. Discernment is required in those instances, do you teach them a lesson which could be verbal or non-verbal? Do you exercise patience and let it go? Sometimes the Marshall comes by and just takes care of it for you.

It is just a game but one that I enjoy.  Perhaps I will at least hit the driving range this week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

When Fact and Fiction cross

Recently, I finished reading From the Garden to the City by John Dyer and I am currently reading Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry and the two crossed as I was finishing the first and halfway through the second. The great thing about fiction is that it has a great way of embodying truth. (There are things that I am finding out about fiction that I knew in the experience of being moved and challenged by fiction but I just did not know how to articulate it. That is a matter for another post.)

John said in his book,

"It is my hope that the biblical and philosophical tools presented in this book will help us become better stewards of the technological tools God has entrusted to us, as we seek to live lives that honor him and the work of his Son."
Dyer, John (2011-07-14). From the Garden to the City (Kindle Locations 3131-3133). Kregel Publications. Kindle Edition. 
In his book, John gives us the bigger picture of technology, not just the "smart phones" "tablets" and "clouds" of today but going back to the basic tools used in the garden like a shovel. The things that we as humans create as tools to aid us in life since the beginning of mankind can be categorized as technology when we are will to look at the broader definition. John puts it this way, “the human activity of using tools to transform God’s creation for practical purposes.”

When I got to chapter 16 in Jayber Crow, I recognized something that we ought to stop and contemplate. We are a society of consumers. Christians are called to count the cost. It is difficult to block out the noise of our society. Every day we are presented with choices. Here in our western free society, we love the fact that we have so many choices. In the book of Deuteronomy chapter 30 the LORD says, "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.....Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days," (v. 15, 19, & 20) and in Matthew from the Sermon on the Mount the LORD Jesus talks about how we ought not to lay up treasures here on earth and that we cannot serve two masters and in the middle of that HE says this, "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness, if then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matt 6:22, 23)

I have been spending time in the Sermon on the Mount and these two verses have been puzzling to me and now I think that I have a clue. Could this be about discernment? If I can not see what is before me and take time to think about what I am doing and as some say "just go ahead blindly" then I am in great darkness. Even here Jesus lays out for us choices. I do NOT believe Jesus is saying that we need to be destitute and can't have our stuff but that we need to have our priorities in the right place.

Now we have arrived at the crossroads.

"Technology, then, is the means by which we transform the world as it is into the world that we desire. What we often fail to notice is that it is not only the world that gets transformed by technology. We, too, are transformed."

Dyer, John (2011-07-14). From the Garden to the City (Kindle Locations 548-550). Kregel Publications. Kindle Edition.

In Wendell Berry's book Jayber Crow purchases an automobile. If we can look at the automobile as a recent technology in the rural setting of Kentucky, the chapter describes how this purchase effects Jayber economically, socially, physically and mentally. (quite possibly spiritually but that is not touched upon in the chapter)
"In Port William after the war the idea that you could "jump in a car" and drive to Hargrave in only a few minutes was still fairly new. The time had been, and not long back, when people in Port William who wanted to go to Hargrave would walk down to Dawes Landing and take the boat."
"What I really got the car for was to participate in the night-time social life of Hargrave. I was already participating, but I was getting tired of riding down there on the running boards of cars and in the back ends of trucks, and then maybe having to walk home. And so I squandered some of my savings and some of my wages in the interests of living life more fully and abundantly."
"To be plain about it, I was lonesome. I wanted the company of women." 

I believe in the wonder and reflections of our Creator in the things we create - including both our historical and modern technology. I am just added my voice to the small choir that is telling the church to be wise, do not embrace every latest advancement without thinking and counting the cost and do not despise the ones who have created new and wonderful things or the things themselves. Let us discern, let us pay attention, let us choose wisely in a way that will bring glory to our Creator.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Pause ..... for dramatic effect
Pause.....when agitated or doubtful
Pause.....the button that we look for on the remote, ipod, podcast

Sometimes we all need an extended "pause" in life. Some people take a sabbatical and usually those people are pastors or professors. We live in a 24/7 world where there is some expectation to always be "on"and regular everyday people like myself are burning out. Not that I have been burned out but I have been taking time to regroup and rest and seek the LORD.
The Pilgrim Highway has a new look. We have been with all three of our children twice this year (once with our son in law for Grace's College graduation.) and that meant a couple of days here for my father in law's wake and funeral and a couple of days in Chattanooga for Grace's graduation.  The new look has been in process for some time but last summer after Grace and Austin married and Michael went off to college, Dan and I are in the midst of figuring out how to just be a couple again.
Both Dan and I have had some grieving to do. Most Americans, Christian or otherwise expect themselves and others to just get on with life. Stay distracted. Get busy. Everyone who has kids has to deal with it. I would argue that we are not meant to be "on" 24/7 and busyness is not necessarily a badge of honor. To acknowledge the sadness of the close of a great season of our lives in raising Grace, Katie and Michael who have turned out to be wonderful people is not only just a human thing to do but an incredibly vulnerable thing to do.
There are things that I had to say no to that was SO incredibly difficult to me. You might say, that I am type A or someone who does not want to stop. I want to burnout bright. Live life to the fullest. Discovering that I needed to find out that I have limitations. I would content that all humans are finite and ALL have limitations. Some people don't know what to do: when their children are happy and excited and starting new seasons of their lives and INDEED, I am happy for my children. However as Semisonic's Closing Time aptly says, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end," and the sadness of the end of something so precious and life-giving for me, is what my friend, Louise calls "The Wonderful Awful Mix" and most of life is just that.
Prior to June, I did very little blogging since August of 2012, in fact 12 posts from then until June 1, 2013. End of May beginning of June, I started hitting the play button again, coming out of the gate a little slower pacing myself and now I need to be careful. There are decisions to be made. New directions that I hope to be taking and by God's AMAZING Grace, I have the Freedom to do so!

Happy Fourth to all my American (Green card, naturalized, the lovely people that I have the pleasure of being friends with who have immigrated) Friends and Family enjoy the Freedom we have here.