Jerry and I have been playing golf together for about ten years. Most Wednesday mornings you can find us out there like most other golfers, doing damage to the fairways and rough, complaining about greens that are too hard or too soft, and debating the merits of chipping with a seven iron vs. a four iron. But there's one thing that's unusual about our game: we don't keep score. Oh, we recognize it when we get a par or a birdie, but we never put a number on the scorecard unless we happen to be playing in a tournament. Otherwise, we're there to enjoy the open air, the exercise, and the opportunity to talk with each other. Good shots are just a bonus, while bad shots are quickly forgotten.
The fellowship has been good for both of us. We've supported each other through the death of our respective first wives, rejoiced with each other when God blessed each of us a second time with the love of a wonderful woman, talked about the myriad of problems we've encountered that week. We play as a two-some, so we can speak openly. Sometimes one of us will say, "I really needed this today." It's good therapy.
Some people would say that it's too bad that we don't keep score. Personally, I think we keep score--just not the way these people think of it. I've played golf with some folks who take the game very seriously. They turn the air blue after a bad shot. They concentrate so hard I can just picture the acid burning their ulcer a bit deeper. I have seen a player in my foursome throw not one but two clubs into a water hazard. That's not why I play golf. Sure, I want to make good shots, but I want to have fun as well. That's how I keep score.
How do you live life? Are you so goal-oriented that you'll cheat a little, lie a bit, fudge just a fraction to get ahead? Is your success tied to the balance in your bank account or the credit limit on that piece of plastic you're carrying? If so, maybe you're keeping score the wrong way.
If a day rarely passes without your doing some random act of kindness, that's better than a string of pars. If you're able to go out of your way to help someone else, that's more desirable than a birdie. And if, at the end of the day, you can say, "I did the best I could," I'd say you'd scored pretty well. Wouldn't you?