Which Brings Us To This Season

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Not Just For the Golfers Among Us

I was in the deep grass, pretty far from the hole. It was a par 5 and it was a good drive for me. I knew I could get to the green in 3 if I just made this second shot count. I took out a long club and took a practice swing. The grass was thick and sticky but I knew I could power through it. If you are a golfer, you know the end of this story. If not, let me tell you it wasn’t pretty. The grass caught my club; the ball veered off to the right and practically went nowhere.

Greedy is what I said out loud – I can’t write what I said inside. But the more I thought about it, “greed” was the wrong word.   I think it was hubris, loosely defined as the belief that I am invincible and can do almost anything I want or set my mind to. I should have picked a different club, one that was more forgiving but didn’t get the distance I was reaching for. I should have listened to my inner self and played it smart rather than macho. I should have learned from the last time I was in the same place.

I have a tendency to keep repeating the same mistakes, not just in golf, but also in life, in relationships, in love. The grass was calling out to me and trying to teach me: learn from your past; choose a different club and stay down, stay focused. The hybrid in your bag is called “forgiving” for a reason. Which brings us to this season and the New Year that begins with the shrill and broken sounds of the Shofar.

Traditionally the ram’s horn plays four notes: one is fierce; one broken; one triumphant, one long. Each note touches a different part of my soul. The fierce tekiah opens me up for the potential being birthed by the New Year. The broken shevarim wails and speaks to me about missed opportunities for wholeness. The triumphant staccato notes of teruah declare you can do it – you can take all the fragmented pieces of your past and glue them together. The very act of trying is itself holy.

It’s all about the effort and the club you choose from your bag. Pick one that is forgiving. Swing smooth and steady and let the club do the work. Listen to the sound of tekiah gedolah (the great and long note of promise). It reaches deep inside of me; reverberating, resonating, and repeating. Trust yourself; have faith. No matter how deep the grass, how dark the day, how heavy the task, the Shofar promises: This is a new start; this is a new chance; this is a new year. Enjoy it and use it well. Happy 5776

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5 thoughts on “Which Brings Us To This Season

  1. you did it again – sharing on Facebook! Thank you & wishes for a sweet n easy new year…and under those good wishes is gratitude for your beautiful writing!

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  2. for about 25 years, I looked at that picture of the golf ball in the rough at least 6 times a round every Saturday. I played it the same way every time, believing that I could nail it with a 3 or a4 wood or a 4 iron. In all those tries, I was successful once. At the 18th hole on Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill course. Hit a 3 wood 220 to the 18th green, and sank a 10 ft birdie putt. After all these years it’s the couple of shots I remember most. I never looked at those attempts as missed opportunities. I just did the best that I could do. I trusted myself. And I had faith. Now, so many years later, the idea of taking “fragmented pieces from my past and gluing them together” resonates. Keep writing Howard. The lessons you teach are invaluable.

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