Recently, my attention has been drawn to golf balls. I know, it seems odd, but I am trying to figure out what in the world Spirit is trying to tell me through golf balls! About a week ago I was on the beautiful beach at Florence, Oregon, playing with the puppy. While Reggie fixated on chasing the tennis ball (over and over and over), I walked along the water's edge, enjoying the sand and the sun. When I came upon a golf ball gently rolling in the surf, I picked it up so it would not end up in some poor seagull's throat.
After about an hour we left the beach and headed inland to Reggie's first "agility" training class. Before we got to the instructor's home, we stopped for another romp - this time in a middle school's baseball field. Once again Reggie raced around "herding" the ball I threw for him, leaping to catch it in his mouth or pouncing on it in the grass. Once again, I walked the field and was surprised to find (you guessed it) a golf ball lying in the grass. I pocketed it along with the one from the beach, and didn't think anything more about it.
Until the next day when I again took Reggie and the "chuck-it" out to run off some of his innate over-the-top energy. And again, I discovered a golf ball lying smack dab in my path!
So what could this mean? What is the message for me? I think it is probably too late for me to join the pro circuit, even if I had ever mastered the game. My mom might tell me the message is an encouragement to take it up again, maybe even to receive the gift of her old clubs. My friend suggested maybe it was a clue to my next husband (you know, find the golfer, and go after him!) But really...
I think the message is much more subtle than any of these suggestions. When I think about golfing, I think of the frustration I used to feel because I was not able to do it right all the time. Those one or two good shots were hopelessly lost in the multitude of poor ones. I remember the dismay that came with knowing my head should stay down and my swing should be relaxed and my knees should be bent... and the reality that time and again my head would bob up, my swing would be stiff and my knees as straight as sticks.
Going down this memory lane, I'm thinking to take those found golf balls and give them away - quickly. And yet maybe it is possible to play the game (of golf, or even of life) without the frustration. Because maybe I could let go of my expectations that I should "do it right" all the time. Maybe I could learn to pay closer attention to the one or two good shots - the successes I enjoy, no matter how minor - and cease to give the limelight to my mis-steps or mistakes. Maybe I could learn that just "knowing" is not the same as "doing", and I could become more patient with myself in the process of growing into wisdom, head/heart/body/and spirit.
Well, what do you know! Golf balls, it turns out, can be a pretty effective communications tool after all.