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October 3, 2007

How to Cure the Common Slice

by Dave Malnes

It was my daughter’s seventh birthday. I wondered what I could get her for a present. Maybe we could do something together. Something special.

I love to play golf. Due to lack of time and resources, I seldom play anymore. A favorite family activity is to set up a course around our house and play golf using a plastic golf ball. My daughter would be my caddie and carry my seven iron for me. In the evening, I would ask her, “What did you enjoy the most about today.” She immediately replied, “Being your caddy!”

On her seventh birthday, I gave her the invitation to be my caddy for nine holes at a nearby golf course.

The day arrived and you could tell my daughter excited.

We arrived at the course on a late October afternoon. I knew very few people would be on the course. After a few practice putts, we marched to the tee with great anticipation. I showed her how to place a golf tee into the grass and how to use a ball cleaner. After the first shot, we walked down the hole hand in hand while pulling the two-wheeled golf cart behind us.

There was a profound gladness in sharing this moment with my young daughter. Just me and her. Enjoying something that I dearly love. Sharing in something together.

Now, being a caddy does take some effort and concentration. She enjoyed pulling the pin out of the hole, handing me my putter, raking the bunker and writing my score on the scorecard. Sometimes, she needed some gentle reminding. “Sweetheart, don’t chase the seagulls.” “Honey, don’t walk through the sand trap.”  “Sweetheart, don’t roll down the hill into the bunker.”

Upon reaching the eighth hole, my ball nestled deep into the greenside rough. It was too much for a seven year old to resist. My daughter decided to lie down spread eagle on the soft, cool grass only a few feet from the ball. With a smile and extra concentration, I somehow managed to chip the ball onto the green.

It truly did not matter at all to my young daughter whether I double-bogeyed or birdied, hit the ball into the water or a few feet from the pin. What seemed to matter most to her was simply being with her father.

It occurred to me that I received another example of the relationship we have with God. We were not created to be human “doings”, but human “beings.” It does not nearly matter as much to God, our Father, about how or what we are doing.  What matters the most is being with Him and Him in us. By faith, we can come to God, “Abba” or “Daddy”, and be with Him — simply basking in His presence.

While the sun settled down in the west, creating an orange glow on the last fairway, my daughter and I strolled toward my ball that was sliced onto another fairway. She grasped my gloved hand, put her head on my arm and said, “Daddy, I love you!”  “I love you too, sweetheart.”

With an insurgent swelling of peace and love, the sin of my slice was quickly forgiven and forgotten. Because I knew who I love and who loved me. Nothing else really mattered.

October 10, 2003

 

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