On a weary Wednesday morning in May, I sit on my screen porch in a flood of feelings so thick, I can barely move.
We returned last night from the state golf championship. My son is a senior and his team got to compete; the journey has been one of such joy. When he teed off on the 18th hole yesterday, I felt a lump in my throat. “This is it. The last hole of his high school career. How are we here already?”
He has been a beautiful son to raise. Yes, there have been (and still are) moments of bewilderment and cluelessness as a parent, moments when he pushed all of my buttons. But as my eyes scan the last 18 years with him, I’m overwhelmed by their beauty.
On the 18th green yesterday, he had to make a long and difficult putt downhill in order to save par. The putt was incredible, and he missed it by a hair. My heart broke. It felt like a metaphor for the last two days—near-perfect execution, but it just wouldn’t come together. His scores were not terrible, but they were not at all what he’d hoped and what he knows he’s capable of.
We want picture-perfect endings, especially when they’ve worked so hard for so long. And, it just wasn’t.
As I reflect this morning, I start to see it a little differently. The truth is, he never stopped giving 100%. He never does. He perseveres intensely but honorably. There are many ways we can all learn to do this, but for him, golf has been his teacher.
During his years in this sport, there have been far more disappointing days than victorious ones. Perhaps the elusiveness is what makes the rare moments of glory so sweet.
Life is not a string of wins. It’s not what I’m preparing my children for. To put it bluntly, our days can feel like a string of losses, both individually and collectively.
Because it’s May, and we’re in the season of celebrating endings, I leave you with this: Despite what we’ve been led to believe, endings don’t always get the last word, nor do they define all that came before. When you gaze a little longer at the not-picture-perfect finish, you might just see a deeper, more lasting beauty in the virtues forged from the journey itself.