Openness, Noticing and Enjoying The Game

My heart melts remembering the soft and significant embrace of chance connections. Yesterday I met a woman leaning against a post at a trail entrance. As I passed she asked me where the trail went and an hour later we were still there talking about nothing and everything, being together. I realize now that for most of my life I walked right by. I would have seen her as an obstacle to get past so that I could get to where I was going. As I find myself slowing down and wandering along the path of Life, urgency has become a memory and openness abounds. I’ve realized there is usually no particular place I need to be and the things that must get done find their own way.

In the openness I often get sucked in, attracted to people like water droplets gathering on a window pane in a spring drizzle. Last evening I was practicing chip shots at a small town golf course when I noticed a man noticing me. He watched me from a distance for at least 30 minutes. As I was heading out to the driving range he walked over to greet me and drew me right in.

Like a father or a loving uncle he shared and held and guided me: First about golf swings and tempo, then the game, and then how being a tall young female that looks nicer than most golfers I will likely be getting lots of advice from old guys like him. The more I listened, the more I realized an angel was before me who was sharing about more than just golf.

“Notice the trees and the wind and the changing textures of grass. Notice the artistry in every hole. Realize in every moment, everything you see is someone’s creation.” He said.

We were standing alone behind the clubhouse. He was grilling steaks and the more passionate he became the more his grill fork danced poignantly like a conductor’s stick perched in his right hand. The setting sun spotlighted a tiny Hawaiian hula girl on the windowsill next to us, her shadow stretched long and her body still. The evening’s fading oranges and reds also brought to light the smile lines around my new friend’s eyes. His mouth was almost hidden beneath a bushy gray mustache. He was wearing an old faded, once navy blue, sweatshirt with a fire department emblem on the chest and blue jeans that were so shabby they were gray. He felt like so many of my friends. He felt like firehouse pranks and late nights around the dinner table after tough calls. He felt like home. His gruff demeanor and thick Boston accent were just a harmless crust over a heart bursting with love.

My mouth watered as the flavor of his steak filled my nose, just as the love in his heart filled my soul. The more he shared the more it felt like he was there to remind me, in a special way, to enjoy the game… The Big Game.

“Be thankful as you walk each fairway. You are going to play golf in the most beautiful places all over the country… I bet all over the world too. Notice the creativity, care and attention that has gone into it all.” He said.

Looking over his shoulder I could see straight down the fairway and I saw it in a way I had never seen before. This was someone’s creation, someone’s dream, someone’s imagination turned into reality. This is a work of art. Someone carefully thought out each bend and slope and tree. All of this is a gift to enjoy.

My heart swelled realizing this and seeing the course and The Game so differently. What a sharing of love and an act of kindness that I will always carry with me… and will change everything forever.

The more open I am, the more I realize angels are everywhere… And sometimes they hide their wings under old scruffy sweatshirts and wave greasy grill forks.