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In the Rough
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Whenever I look out over the rolling green as observed from the tee box of the first hole, the golf course seems to beckon my ball down the middle of the fairway. The sand traps seem to greet me like strangers I’ve never met before. The rough looks like a foreign place that I’ll never hazard a visit. All is well and good in my mind. All is well and good in my soul. All is well, maybe not good, but at least alright with my body. My heart, for the moment, is content. Then I swing.

At first, the ball travels in the general direction that I want it to. Then, as if receiving commands from some malicious anti-golfer aliens, my ball changes directions on a dime and sails into the great wilderness that is the rough at the local municipal course that I frequent. The sky darkens. The birds quit singing. I pick up my golf bag that is carrying my celebration-after-birdying-the-first-hole-Gatorade, and I begin the slog to find my direction-impaired golf ball.

Wonderful Plans for That Ball

I had made such wonderful plans for that ball. I had cleaned it with water and wiped it dry with a special towel before placing it on a brand new tee. I had envisioned its straight path down the fairway. I had said a quick prayer before I struck that ball, knowing that God simply could not wish so much bad luck on one lowly golfer (I have prayed this prayer many times, you see). But despite the best laid plans, the ball flew in the face of reason and perhaps the laws of physics, and landed in a towering-weed-infested-pit-of-trouble.

There are perhaps many morals to this story. Don’t go golfing with this optimistic blowhard, may be one of them. But what I think about when I reflect upon my experiences on the golf course is that no matter how much advice, care, instruction, practice and prayers God directs to my life, I sometimes veer crazily and stupidly towards trouble. And that is without malevolent aliens controlling me. I think. I pray every day that the Lord will make my path straight and true, and in the end, rest safely in the hands of the Master of all. Ill-willed aliens included.

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By Garrett Gladden. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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