Archive for March 2012

Love What you do

March 30, 2012

Love What You Do – by Steven Callis

I once attended a PGA golf tournament in Charlotte, NC.  Near the clubhouse was a walkway where all the players must travel to reach the golf course.  I stood there for about 45 minutes seeing players walk within 3-5 feet of me, and I wondered what was going through their minds as they were either beginning or ending their round of golf.

Several of the players acknowledged the fans as they passed, and a few of them acted as though they did not even see the crowd.  Fans would sometimes wish a player good luck or “Go get ’em, Phil.”  At one point a well-known golfer in his twelfth year on the Tour walked by and one of the fans said, “Have fun out there.”  Without stopping or missing a beat the player continued walking as he replied, “Can anybody really have fun playing golf?”

I realize many things could have been in his mind at that moment.  He may have been joking, or he may have been missing his family, frustrated by something that happened in the preliminaries, or not feeling well – I certainly do not judge him on that single comment, but it did cause me to think:  man, you get paid to play golf everyday on the world’s most beautiful courses!  The weekend golfer would jump at the opportunity to play free golf, especially on such high caliber golf courses.

Understandably, no matter what a person does for a living, it can sometimes feel like a burden, a routine, joyless, and unappreciated.  Professional golfers work very hard, and their work takes them away from home and family for 5-6 days every time they enter a tournament.  They spend more time practicing and training than they do playing the actual events.  Their paycheck or reward is based, in part, on how well they perform, but also on how their competition performs.  It is very hard work, but I believe they turned professional because they love the game.

Whatever one’s role in life, there likely will be days when the role seems more of a challenge and duty than a blessing and privilege.  Discipline gets us through those difficult days, but desire and a healthy perspective restore the joy and appreciation for the role we are called to play.  Despite those occasional days when it feels like an uphill battle, following my call and fulfilling my God-ordained purpose makes it possible for me to love what I do.

In the movie, The Rookie, Jim was recruited by a minor league baseball team, but was homesick, tired, and financially stretched at home.  Weary of the game he loved and feeling defeated by the process of moving up to the big leagues, he decided to quit baseball.  However, something happened that night to change his mind and perspective, and he entered the locker room the next day with a smile on his face, “You know what we get to do today, Brooks?  We get to play baseball!”

 

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Unexpected Endings

March 30, 2012

Unexpected Endings

By Steven J. Callis

 

I recently finished reading a novel by a writer that is new to me, Robert Whitlow, a best-selling author of legal novels and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction.  A practicing attorney, Whitlow has been writing since 1996. His novels are set in the South and written around legal suspense, rich characterization, and an occasional hint of romance.  Woven into the stories are spiritual themes that challenge and inspire, and avid readers compare his style to that of novelist John Grisham.

            As I approached the end of this novel, the predictable conclusion was obvious, yet it never materialized.  Instead, the author left his readers with a sadder and somewhat unexpected conclusion.  Slightly disappointed, I was glad to discover on the last page that readers are encouraged to visit the author’s website for an alternative ending to the book.  Following the link, I found the ending that I had anticipated and preferred.  Well done, Mr. Whitlow!

            However, once my emotions were satisfied with what my mind had anticipated, something strange happened to me; upon reflection, I preferred the original ending above the one I had expected.  Though sadder and less anticipated, there was something very right and soul-satisfying about the original version.

            I have an idea that if we could write our own endings to the various circumstances in which we find ourselves, we might often be disappointed by the results.  I can look back over times in my life when I am thankful things did not work out the way I had hoped, or as country singer Garth Brooks refers to those times, “Unanswered Prayers.”

            My personal faith trusts the sovereignty of the living, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite God who demonstrates His love for me in a personal relationship through Jesus Christ and the constantly abiding presence of His Holy Spirit.  What that means in the context of these thoughts is that I am not responsible for writing the endings in my life story.   My preferred endings might make me “feel” better, but they are not always the best for me when all the pieces of my life are put together.  I am thankful that things don’t always work out the way I had planned or hoped.  Since He has become the author of my life, I know it all will make perfect sense in the end.