Wednesday, June 16, 2010

30 Days of Smelling -- The Sweet Smell of Success

I went golfing today. This did not used to be an unusual event, but of late it has been. I don't get out nearly so much as I used to. So, even though it is almost the middle of June, this was just the second time I have been out this year.

The early morning saw me out golfing with my son-in-law Michael, grandson Anthony, and a fellow we just met named Steve Belden. Steve's a judge from Canton, Ohio and his daughter, we discovered, attends Malone University (where I attended) and is an intern at the Indianapolis Zoo (which I drive by often).

My goal -- seeing as how it was just my second time out this year -- was not to stink. And we all know how much stinking ... um ... stinks.

The newly re-opened Bald Head Island course (just a shade nicer than my usual courses in Indiana -- the fairways here resemble the greens there) proved quite a challenge -- lots of water and sand. I was hoping to acquit myself not too badly.

Now I used to be a pretty fair golfer. Not great, but not bad for a hacker. But to play well you have to play often. So my goal was to shoot somewhere under 110.

I know... an abysmal score, but for a course essentially new to me and with my lack of playing, I'd take it.

I will say, that by the grace of God, some lucky shots (off the decking surrounding the green and plopping right next to the hole), and a few "mulligans," I succeeded. 108. A couple of pars. A bunch of bogeys. And a few... well, let's just say they were pretty bad.

But the biggest smell, amid the myriad of smells including sea salt air, deep maritime woods, cool water, sweat, sunscreen, sun-baking skin, and so forth, was the smell of grace. So many times, as one of us approached a close putt (especially after a difficult hole) someone would say, "Oh, that's good. Pick it up." Words from family and a new friend alike.

Now I seriously doubt that I shall see Steve again (thought it is a small island we're on), but it was grace, I believe, that brought him into our lives for those five hours making our way around 18 holes. But I am grateful that he was part of them, grateful to have spent hours with two other of my favorite people (Michael and Anthony), and grateful for those few good strokes I put together -- without having a stroke in this heat.

Thank you, God, for this good day.

-- Brent

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