Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rake the Bunker

If you have spent any time on a golf course, then you have spent some time in one of the courses many obstacles - the bunker. My uncle likes to refer to them simply as 
‘sandy beaches.’
I always feel as though my golf ball has a magnet in it that is drawn to this bane of my existence. These sandy beaches are placed strategically all over each golf hole, in the fairways and near the greens. It’s not as if getting the golf ball in the cup is not hard enough without these things. Nevertheless, bunkers are always near.

Lying nearby these traps, you will always find a rake. No, it is not another obstacle to avoid…the rake is put there for the golfer to clean up his/her mess when they are done. 
It is the golfers duty to put the bunker back the way they found it. This is done so that those coming behind you can have the same opportunity that you were presented with.

(Courtesy: BourneAmenity)
I so love the analogies about life that golf presents to us. One of the words you will hear associated with golf is honor. Your score, replacing your divots, and raking the bunker is all about honoring the persons that will be playing behind you.

So many individuals have lost this trait when it comes to life. Many just want to play through the course of life, never taking the time to clean up their mess. We often forget that it was our shot that put us in this bunker to begin with. Sure, you will finish what you set out to do…but you have left a littered path of unfinished business in the process.

(Courtesy: RittenHouse)
How many apologies have been left unsaid?
How many opportunities have been started…yet never finished?
How many lessons have not been learned…all because we didn’t take the time to STOP and RAKE?

This reality never seems to confront us because it doesn’t really affect us in the moment. Where it shows up is later on - long after our round is complete. Your failure to clean up your mess has made it that much more difficult on those coming behind you.
Our companions. Our children. Those that follow our circle of influence. For this very reason, the struggles of a former generation will plague those of the generation to come. With every passing generation, this course of life gets that much more difficult to play. 

Rake the bunker. Whether you feel like anyone is around watching or not, it’s the honorable thing to do.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Is God Really...

There is nothing more terrifying for some children than a grown up tossing them up into the air and then catching them as they return back down to their waiting arms. I have witnessed some children that absolutely love this feeling. They will smile, laugh, and then beg for mom/dad to do it again.

the Hill '3'
Forest Hill, MD

My daughter is not one of the latter. She despises heights and will literally pull my hair out if I so much as raise her above my head. As any good (mischievious) father would do, I never allow this stop me from tossing her into the air when I get the chance.

Last evening, I had an epiphany of sorts that is so elementary, yet incredibly powerful. As I see the ‘terror’ in my little girl’s eyes when I toss her into the air, I can sense that she doesn’t completely grasp that her daddy is going to catch her on the way back down. In other words, she is full of doubt – worry – concern. In that split second of time, there are questions abounding in her little mind. Why is my daddy doing this to me? I’m being tossed and flipped around against my wishes, dangling in the unknown. I don’t like it up here.

The thing is: Just because I know she doesn’t completely trust me doesn’t change my love for her – nor does it change the fact that I’m her daddy and I would never let her fall. I have everything under control.

As an adult, do you ever just feel like you’re being tossed and thrown around against your wishes? Do you ever have questions about what and why God is doing what He is in your life? Those moments when it feels like you are free falling and no one is going to be there to break your fall.
In rushes the doubts – the questions – the uncertainty . . . Is God really in control? 
Is He really going to catch me?

American Visionary Art Museum
(Baltimore, MD)

Let me share with you: 
Having these kinds of thoughts is ok. As a matter of fact, I would be worried about you if you didn’t. 
Without these experiences, we would never have to worry about learning to trust Him.
Just because you are filled with doubt doesn’t change the fact that you are His child. 

Quite often I have set my own self back because my doubts and questions consumed me so much that I began reaching to fix things on my own. I failed to allow His process to continue its work in my life.

Storms of life and prison experiences will cause you to wonder. But just because you don’t fully believe in your moment of confusion doesn’t cause Him to turn His back on you.
My little Sam doesn’t always trust daddy to catch her when she is tossed…but that doesn’t stop me from catching her.

Don’t allow the doubts to ever rob you of knowing, ‘He’s my Father’. I don’t always get the ‘why’…but He does. And that’s enough.