They brought the sign today. It’s a big, ugly thing that sits atop a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over when the storms come.
I suppose some would not think it ugly. The nice lady who sat and talked with us one night a few weeks ago likely thinks it a thing of beauty. It has her name emblazoned on it, after all—right near the really ugly part.
The ugly sign tells the world my days as a music store owner are limited. Funny—when I say it that way, it doesn’t seem like much. People retire, or change their profession, all the time.
Somehow, it seems to go deeper than that. Over the last few months, as the reality of coming change has become evident, I almost feel like the thing I have so lightly called my life has begun to unravel before my eyes.
And, as I consider that unraveling, I see, in my mind’s eye, an old golf ball I once found by the side of the road. There was a sliced arc in the nearly white cover of the little orb, probably caused by a poorly aimed iron striking the surface at a bad angle.
The ball was useless. Completely destroyed. But, I was intrigued by what I saw through the slice in the cover. It looked like rubber bands under there.
I peeled the dimpled ball like an orange. Sure enough, inside the cover, one could see nothing but rubber bands wound tightly around it. I cut one of them and a section of stretchy rubber flopped away from the sphere. After the action was repeated a dozen times or more, the mass of rubber pulled away from the core completely.
Looking at what was left in my hand, I examined the little black rubber ball. A fraction of the size of the original dimpled one, this one felt as if it had air and liquid inside.
I hurled the little sphere away in disgust. It hit the wooden side of a storage building standing nearby and, rebounding from that surface, sped back past my ear with alarming speed.
Wow! A super ball!
I chased it down and took it home. It might have been at the center of that destroyed golf ball, where it would never be seen directly, but it was certainly the most important part of the ball. No wonder the old men who played the game could hit those things so far with their clubs!
I played with it for weeks.
Now, where was I?
Oh yes, life unraveling. The end of my career as a music store proprietor.
I wonder. Is that a good thing?
What happens if we get to my core? What would be there, at the center?
Did you know that everything around the core of the golf ball is there for one purpose? Just one.
They magnify the effect of the core.
The rubber band-like material compresses as the ball is struck and then rebounds to its original shape, lending its energy to the core which responds as only its components can. The slick, dimpled cover reduces drag and helps the ball to fly straight toward its target.
It is what we are made to do.
The Psalmist knew it. (Psalm 34:3)
Mary, the mother of our Lord, did too. (Luke 1:46)
I may be exaggerating when I describe my recent (and continuing) experiences as life unraveling.
After all, to a child who knows no better, a haircut can seem very much like being scalped. The needle of inoculation feels like open-heart surgery without the benefit of anesthesia to the toddler. We laugh—sympathetically, but we laugh—as we watch them struggle against the very thing which is intended for their benefit.
I’m not so different. Perhaps, you’re not either.
But, what’s at the core?
Maybe a better question is—Who’s at the core?
I want who I am to magnify the Who at the core. And, like the Psalmist, I’d like to have company while I do it.
Magnify the Lord with Me.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
(Psalm 34:1-3 ~ NASB)
To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.
(P G Wodehouse ~ English author/humorist ~ 1881-1975)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.