|The beauty of Nature is all around us.|
Yesterday I had planned on going and enjoying an afternoon with my friend Gerry on the golf course. It had been about a month since we had a chance to golf together, since the weather has not been agreeable to golf at sunrise. We either faced rain or frost every Saturday morning, and so now it was our chance to enjoy the outdoors together. Our tee time was set for 12:07 and since we were doing a full 9 holes, I rented a cart for us both. Gerry now is 87 and I knew that a full round would be very taxing on him. What I hadn’t realized in choosing this day was that everyone else had the same idea, to golf. MEA was going on so young boys were also getting out on the golf course as well.
|Will and Gerry|
It is the tradition of the course that when one or two are golfing, the manager can add one or two more to a small group to fill the slots and keep those that would otherwise have a long wait, a chance to play. Today was one of those days, at the moment of Tee off, the manager came up to Gerry and I and asked if we would not mind if two young boys could golf with us. I grudgingly accepted and so I resigned myself to the fact that I was not going to have the time to visit with Gerry alone.
Isn’t it funny sometimes how God has different plans than the ones we make? As I started out on the course, I saw now how we had to visit with two young boys and wait for them to catch up with us on every turn, due to the fact that they were walking and we were on a cart. I only saw what I was giving up and not what good was coming out of this opportunity to exercise my Christian faith. As I was about to go to the green on hole one, a thought came to me, “Do you remember when you had your son out here and how some individuals behind you were not so patient with Will’s slowness due to his beginning skills?” I was just like those individuals now, only thinking of myself. I felt ashamed of my actions and at that moment, I decided to look at these boys as I would my son. I introduced myself to each of them, (Austin and Jacob) and they in turn told us their names. I could see that they felt uneasy golfing with two men that they did not know, but as we talked more with them, they became more relaxed. I also learned as we traveled on the course, that they came from what appeared to be two stable homes with a parent/s that loved them very much. One boy said that his uncle took him to school everyday from about 15 miles out in the country. What commitment this uncle had in giving his nephew a ride everyday. I realized at that moment that it was probably that same uncle or parent that brought him to the golf course today. Here was a boy whose family loved their child so much that they would sacrifice their time so that their he could golf.
|Fouling the leader.|
Both young boys were in 7th grade and went to school here in Winona, only blocks from where I live. They liked their principal and seemed happy with their school. Both Gerry and I had fun golfing with them and we enjoyed the afternoon visiting with them as well. Gerry and I encouraged them to keep playing golf and not to take the game too seriously. When leaving Jacob and Austin, I spoke to Jacob and told him that it is important not to look at winning in order to have fun. I told him that if he did, he would never enjoy the game. During the time that Gerry and I had with them, I felt like their surrogate dad when talking with them, and I have to say that I enjoyed the time we had playing golf with these young men more than I can say.
|Hidden under the leaves.|
Unfortunately, we had a group of 4 or 5 behind us that became anxious and wanted the game to speed up some. I ignored their impatience and had fun in spite of their anxieties. I looked back at those gentlemen and saw myself, not but two hours earlier. I felt no judgment towards these men since I was in their shoes when first starting the game earlier in the day; it was only sadness that I experienced for them. It was time to pray for these gentlemen in that God would give them a chance like he did for me. God opened my eyes to patience and kindness by having two young boys walk into my life for a brief moment of time. God does work in mysterious ways, and I am so thankful that he does. Now God has given me the honor of being able to pray for two young souls.