Friday, March 13, 2009


I’ve done a little recreational golfing in my day. Truth is, I’m lousy at it but long ago I reconciled myself to the notion that the only way to enjoy it is to accept that fact and not get bent out of shape by the drives that fly away curving as though the ball has “Chiquita Banana” printed on it rather than MaxFli or Titelist or by 7-iron shots that are mis-hit and travel maybe 30 yards resulting in an opportunity for an 8-iron shot followed by a wedge, then a sand wedge.

Once at a golf outing, after having shot 146 for 18 I was presented with the prize for the highest score, a rod and reel and the suggestion that I try another recreational sport. I’ve caught more crappie and perch with the rod and reel than I’ve ever had success with a golf club.

At golf outings and in recreational 4-somes there’s usually an opportunity to take a “Mulligan” on a drive, typically one per round or one per 9 holes. It’s a chance to “do-over” a particularly gruesome drive and try to improve (sometimes my Mulligan shots have been worse than the original drive).

Sometimes when I let my mind wander, the thought has occurred to me that it would sure be nice to have a Mulligan in life occasionally. We tend to suffer from our bad decisions, impulses gone awry or our complacency. Wouldn’t we all be better off if we could do a Mulligan. Wouldn’t it be even better if those around us would grant us the grace to exercise a Mulligan and try again to do things differently and achieve the outcome we’d like to have. Wouldn’t it be great if we could use a Mulligan in our personal lives, in our relationships to make better decisions, to be more loving, to be kinder, to be more tolerant, to be more forgiving, to be gentler.

I’ve known people who have absolutely screwed up everything they’ve ever tried. People for whom, if it weren’t for bad judgment would have no judgment at all. People who have given up on themselves and on whom other people have given up as well. Don’t they deserve a Mulligan?

It’s something to keep in the back of your mind. Everyone is deserving of a Mulligan—an opportunity to try again. One thing I believe is that God grants each and every one of us as many Mulligans as we need to get things right. No matter how many bad choices or decisions we make. No matter how badly we have screwed up our lives or our careers. God will give us an unlimited amount of Mulligans. And the good thing is, we only have to get it right once—just once.

I’ve often thought that if God grants us an unlimited amount of Mulligans, then can’t we all try to be a little more like God and allow others extra Mulligans—even when there’s a big part of us that wants to write the person off, to discard him or her as a loser.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could do that. Mulligans are great in golf. They’re even better when applied to the human condition.

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