You’ve been taken by the wind
You have known the kiss of sorrow
Doors that would not take you in
Outcast and a stranger.
— Lyrics from “By Way of Sorrow” by the Wailin’ Jennys
One of golf’s intriguing allures is having it, then losing it and working to regain it. Mystery can be the only word to describe reaching a certain mastery on one day and the next, appearing as a golfer in search of the secret. As golfers are prone to say, “good golf is on loan.” The sweetest swing is effortless, the worst, an interrupted contortion. A golfer’s normal has no boundary.
Normal, the most evasive, most strived for state of being, lends to us its idyllic allure and charms us into thinking it means only the best of times. We exert ourselves maintaining it or returning to it because we think it offers some illusory respite from Nature’s harshest interruptions. Within its nomenclature is a real “leave me alone” attitude toward life’s misfortune. But isn’t normal where you are, whatever life delivers you, wherever the wind has taken you?
My own faith journey queried the idea. How was I to cope? All this effort spent, and still, my idea of normal evaded me. My question turned on seeking, clamoring for some atavistic meaning, but in which direction?
In his book, Confessions, Augustine writes to God when he says, “I was outside myself, while you were inside me” and “deeper in me than I am in me.” Since I was blind, Augustine clarified what I could not form into words. Hearing him, my long-held confusion abated. Turning to God is such a short journey.
What is faith if not tested? Any sorrow God placed before me seemed like a headwind, a setback. Always the same, I responded attempting to conform Him to my version of normal. The logic cascaded into work, community, church, culture and to anyone who disagreed. Why not? Everyone else used Christianity as proof. Thinking about my confusion, I decided church or faith or whatever must be either imperfect or misunderstood. I favored misunderstood.
Augustine spoke to God again. “Perfect you are, beyond all change, and today does not reach its end in you…so every tomorrow to come, every yesterday gone, is made in your today.” Though I am often numb to His touch, God’s today encompasses all my renewals, none final, each closer to Him.
And as each word of praise, confession, renewal, petition, intercession and thanksgiving filters toward God within, “thy will, Lord, not mine” finds life in me. In faith, but to Him mine now conforms. Thanks be to God.
Normal is the uninterrupted life,
and to this, I can attest,
to have never met one such as this,
the uninterrupted soul.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).