“You want to join?”
My husband was attempting to pay for our first round of golf at the ‘country club’ located 4 miles from our new home. The gal behind the counter/bar in the club house was trying to convince us that a membership to the club was the most fiscally responsible thing to do. The amount we would pay for one round for each of us would more than cover a month of membership fees. Our entire family of five could enjoy unlimited golf for less a month than the two rounds we were about to play. But…. I’m in sales – I know how this works and I wasn’t about to jump into a long term commitment. We are in the most expensive years of parenting – called the college and wedding years- and I keep a pretty tight lock on our budget. A Country Club membership sounded excessive. My immediate response was a firm, “No thanks.”
My husband wasn’t so easily convinced that this was a bad idea. He loves to golf.
He will go play a quick round as a form of stress relief. A walk on the golf course does wonders for his attitude. I, on the other hand, need to be pretty happy and relaxed before heading out to play. If I am stressed or pre-occupied, attempting to hit a little white ball is that last thing I need to do. We stood at the counter – he formulating his sales pitch and me running some numbers to prove him wrong. In the end it actually did make sense to make the jump into Country Club life. Membership would also give us unlimited access to a pool – a nice perk during our hot Missouri summers. The extra special touch is that our names have now been engraved on a brass name plate on display for all to see on the club house wall.
After almost 5 years of enjoying our membership privileges this past summer we were granted an upgrade. I guess we have proven our trustworthiness because we have now been given access to ……
You know, the thing that allows you the privilege of enjoying some type of food or drink without actually paying for it at the time you consume it? You order and simply say….. ‘Put it on my tab.’ You can sit around with friends after 9 holes, enjoy a cold one and say – next round is on me! Yep – just put it on my tab. It feels free, and fun and important. It shows you can be trusted. It announces to the world that you are part of the community…
and isn’t that what we all want?
To know that we belong?
I’ve been told that I will never get over the feeling of being ‘new’ in my small town. I have friends that were born, raised and now are raising their own children who are also raising their own children here. All in the same place. It’s something I will never understand. It does not mean it is wrong. It just means its not my experience. They know they belong because this is all they know. They have a lineage that goes back generations. Their good old days happened right here – not some far away place with even farther away memories. The difference between their life experience and mine feels vast.
Until I start asking questions.
And I start listening.
It turns out that no matter what path of life you have meandered, you can still….
Find your forever soul mate that becomes your spouse.
Enjoy great success in your professional life.
Fill photo books with countless happy memories.
Fill hearts with deep hurts from loss and regret.
Endure both financial windfalls and financial ruin.
Receive a cancer diagnosis.
Lose a child.
Get voted High School homecoming Queen.
Save up and buy your first car, your first home.
Struggle with the choices of your children.
Feel the void that comes when all that the world promises to offer keeps falling short.
When it comes down to it, we are all really more alike that different – in the most humbling way.
We all, no matter where we’ve lived or where we havn’t lived, all have a need to be filled. A need for completion. A need to feel loved. A need for peace. A need for forgiveness. A need for redemption. A need to belong.
I’ve just started a 10 week journey with a group of friends through the book of John. It’s one of the four gospels – or accounts of the life of Jesus. If you are not familiar with his life and mission – some time in this book is a great place to start. If you are familiar – this is a great place to re-visit. In just the first 34 verses of chapter one I have been reminded of the gift that he was and is to me and all that chose to follow him. I’m reminded that from the creation of the world he was. I’m reminded that when man blew it, the plan was for Jesus to come and clean up our mess. I’m reminded that Jesus was a light in our darkest places and that he did his most profound work outside of church walls.
At a wedding.
With a parent whose child was dying.
In a crowd of hungry people.
He touched people whom others shunned.
He dined with the scum, the forgotten, the sinners.
When entrance into eternity held a price tag large for us to pay,
Jesus came to pick up the tab.
He walks into the clubhouses of our lives and covers it all. No matter what we add to our bill, through poor choices, past regrets – he promises to cover it all. He wants you to know that you can belong.
That you can be loved.
That you can be redeemed.
He’s got you covered – for eternity.
To God be the glory.
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31