Forgiveness and Grace
Earlier this year we went out to play golf. There were only six of us. I had the pleasure of playing golf with Dan and Earl. Both are really great guys. Dan is in his late 60’s, Earl in his late 70’s. Both of these men have a great sense of humor which just adds to the game.
On the third hole, a par 5, Earl was getting ready to tee off. Dan and I were behind him and to his right. A tree, which I have never seen anyone hit, was twenty feet in front of him to his left. Earl took a good swing and the ball hit that tree dead center. We heard the ‘whack’ as the ball hit the tree and started its return voyage. Then we saw the ball pass in front of Earl’s face, right at eye level. It probably missed him by a good two feet but at that moment in time it looked like a matter of inches. Dan and I both ducked and the ball passed over our heads.
Earl spun around and looked at us. Then in a somewhat rattled voice he said, “Am I the only one who peed his pants?”
Dan immediately responded, “I did something in my pants.”
Me? I was still praying, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.”
We continued play but Dan and I were both keeping on a serious eye on Earl. Somewhere along the way Dan sent a text message to a person in the group ahead of us about what happened.
Finishing our round we walked into the clubhouse to join the other threesome for lunch. Mike was staring at his menu when we walked in. He looked up, made eye contact with Earl and said, “So, how was your game, Killer?” I’ve played golf with Earl a few times and to his credit I have never heard him cuss. True to form, he didn’t today either. But, he did take off his hat and throw it on the floor while saying, “So, how did you hear about that already?”
Staring at the menu Mike said, “They have been posting where you were on all the pace of play clocks on the course.”
Now Earl was mad. He picked up his hat while stuttering, “That’s not right! That is just not right!”
Mike kept staring at the menu and said, “Maybe so but the last pace of play clock I saw said ‘Resume play. Earl is off the course heading to the club house’”.
Earl turned white then everyone started laughing.
So, what’s the difference between forgiveness and grace? No one in a golf group will grant you forgiveness. For weeks anyone who played with Earl was asked if they would like a hardhat or if they had their life insurance paid up, of course, Earl was always in hearing distance. He also sported the nick name ‘head hunter’ for about a month. There is no forgiveness in golf. But grace does abound and it did the day Dan, Earl, and I played golf and the above incident took place -Earl picked up the lunch tab for Dan and I.