“You don’t know what you don’t know.” That is exactly what I said when I was newly married and ventured out to watch my husband, Bill, and one of his best friends from college, Fred, play in the Linville Four Ball Golf Tournament. I was going to catch them at the 10th hole right after the turn. For you non-golfers, that means on the “Back 9” of 18 holes.
I had never really been on a golf course and wasn’t very familiar with this mountain course except for its sheer beauty. I remember getting in the family golf cart and parking in, what I thought, was the best spot with the best view, until I saw Bill in the distance waving his arms frantically. Back then my eyesight was 20/20 and I thought Bill was motioning for help and he was! He was helping me by saving me from extreme embarrassment. Little did I know that the place I had parked was the 11th tee box!
If you are not a golfer, allow me to paint this picture for you. Most people who would be on the golf course in Linville, NC, would know golf and golf etiquette, especially if you were allowed to have a spectator cart and watch a tournament. I was parked on the tee box where the group in front of Bill was walking to Tee off. I literally thought those markers were like a “designated spot” for a cart and it was first come first serve for spectators. Little did I know then how much I didn’t know about golf, its rules, and how to navigate a golf course.
For this golfing mom, who has never played the game, I have come a long way in the school of learning the game. I even have other golfing parents and golfers ask me if I play because of the knowledge I’ve acquired from watching our kids play all these years. My poor Dad went through the same thing when he first started coming to watch the kids play. He joined me in the innocence of the ignorance of just NOT knowing the game. I can remember extremely funny times and have replayed them in my mind hundreds of times.
The very first time my dad followed Collins, we were in Anderson, SC, at the Sunshine Tournament. One of Collin’s playing partners drove it off the tee and hit a very visible poor shot. My dad was standing to the left watching and he started to commentate, OUT LOUD, on what he saw. It went something like this, “Bushes, bushes, no in the trees. Oops, it’s in the creek. I guess you’ll have to hit another one!” IF you don’t know golf, let me inform you now, YOU DO NOT EVER SAY THAT TO A GOLFER ABOUT HIS POORLY EXICUTED SHOT or COMMENTATE ON WHAT YOU SEE OUT LOUD FOR EVERYONE TO HEAR. My dad just didn’t know and, thankfully, Collin’s playing partner gave Papa a lot of GRACE for “not knowing what you don’t know!” Years later we have had so many laughs about the early years of Papa’s “just not knowing” the game. My children still “belly laugh” to this day about many displays on my part, and my parents, for just not knowing. When other kids got to know my dad at tournaments, especially SC junior events, all the kids’ competitors would start smiling. They knew Papa didn’t know the rules and would end up doing something hysterically funny while watching someone play that day and they could all laugh about it during and after the round. Everyone loved him and enjoyed his innocent ignorance.
It took several years before I could even allow my dad to venture out and follow one of the kids by himself. When I would call him, it didn’t matter if the kids had made bogeys or not, he would always say they are doing GREAT! At the end of the round he would never be able to tell me their score, only that they hit great shots and that he had fun watching.
After thousands of rounds of golf, my dad and my kids taught me such valuable lessons that all of us competitive parents and future grandparents can learn from. Allow me to point them out:
1. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
2. My dad never had the “PRIVILEGE” of being able to play sports growing up. To him, all those kids, especially mine, were EXTREMELY BLESSED to be playing a game for 2 or 3 days straight. He didn’t see it as hard labor like he had to do when he was growing up. I will have to add here, he does recognize now that our kids have played for years at a highly competitive level which requires time, work and dedication. But he will on occasion remind me to remind them, “IT IS BETTER THAN DIGGING DITCHES! (Glad he reminds me and them!) Golf is STILL A GAME.
3. Grace! Those kids allowed my dad grace for “not knowing what he didn’t know!” Grace is defined in the dictionary as, “good will, favor, kindness, mercy or pardon”. I love this! The kids on the course freely gave my dad grace, not one time, but many!!! It is such a visible description of my “faith in Christ!” Grace—not for just me but for anyone. HE pardoned my sin and loves me and forgives me. That grace allows me to have a personal relationship with Christ.
A personal relationship with Christ is just that! A personal relationship. NO one can have that relationship with Christ for me. I have to own it. As the relationship with Christ grows you don’t look at it as a bunch of rules to give up. You view it as a relationship of love and what you could do that would be pleasing to HIM. Just like in a friendship, marriage, or any relationship, you desire to do things to make the other person happy and pleased out of a love for them. The meaning of grace for Christians is that Jesus Christ has taken our place. Every punishment and curse that should come upon us because of our sin, He has taken upon Himself by dying on a cross so that, instead of judgment, we may receive blessings. HE took our place in that judgment. The grace of Jesus Christ is stated perfectly in
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
4. My kids are always eager to call my dad, their papa, and talk about their tournament. Whatever they have done, it will be “GREAT” in his eyes. They know he loves them no matter their score. They love the positive reassurance and affirmation they receive from him. This mimics my relationship with Christ. I am eager to go to HIM in prayer and tell him about my day, the good and the bad. He listens and gives me positive feedback, even though I have messed up. He gives me grace and love. Now because I love HIM, I desire to please HIM. If I have done something bad, I feel bad and convicted enough to admit it and work hard at allowing Him to work in my life to turn from the bad behavior.
Just like my kids love their Papa and do not want to hurt him. If they did, they would be very sorry because of their “RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM” which is one of love and trust. That is just like a personal relationship with Christ!