For all the golfers out there, you know what a mulligan is. For those unaware of what a mulligan is, I will describe it in one word: Do-over.
A mulligan in golf is when you are given another shot to make up for the one you just hit into the water or shanked into the woods. I should know because I have used them many times. Thankfully, I was not trying to qualify for the US Open or a local tournament. Maybe after not golfing for a few years, my “skill” of hitting it right in the wrong spot has fixed itself. (I highly doubt it!!)
In a regular round of golf, you will tee off 18 times. If you walk up to the first tee and proceed to knock the ball straight down the fairway, you expect the round to go pretty good. It is like waking up in the morning and it’s all sunshine and rainbows. If you walk up to the first tee and smash it 300 yards, but 150 yards to the right into the trees, Lord have mercy!! (Can I just take a mulligan?)
In all of my years helping people with relationships and the issues pertaining to divorce, I hear the terms “Starter Marriage” and “Practice Relationship”. Sorry folks, but it doesn’t work that way. Unlike in sports, you must make the best with what you have. Play it where it lies.
Hitting a horrible shot off the first tee or chunking a wedge that ends up blowing your ball over the green into the water is a lot like the tragedy of a divorce. It causes words to be blurted out that should never be said. Destruction to the offending club could rend it useless and only worth the trash can when you get back to the clubhouse. If you can’t find the ball or lost it in the lake, now you are out the money for the ball too, along with additional stokes as a penalty, unless you take a mulligan.
But if you care about the spirit of the sport of golf, the role honesty and playing by the rules plays, you will record the appropriate score and move on. It is about doing what is right and taking the high road. Accepting the consequences. Moving forward.
This message could be applied in two ways:
1) If you are married (and possibly contemplating separation or divorce), realize it is just a bump in the road and you can recover. Many times, golfers overcome a bad shot or even a series of shots to win the tournament. It is fortitude and determination that helps you to be better on the rest of this round and and to finish out the tournament strong. It is never over until the last stroke. You may just be surprised how well the rest of it turns out.
2) If the duff or shank is what has happened to you and divorce is now the course you are on, see the rest of the tournament as the rest of your life. You still have a lot of game to play. You may pull up to a par 3 and hit a hole-in-one!! Don’t just take a mulligan. Use this as a learning process to gather yourself for the next hole and rounds of your life.
As a Christian, you can have Jesus as your caddie. He can warn you of the hazards and keep you from straying off course. He can tell you how the greens lean and what will cause your ball (life) to move side to side. He will tell you when to swing with all your might and when to lay up a little. Best caddie you will ever consider having, too!!
Sometimes, people make too much or too little of divorce. They want you to just get over it and start over or take a mulligan.
Take it from me–Let Jesus carry your bag (burdens) and guide you through the Masters golf tournament called life. Let the Master be your caddie!!