I drove recently to the middle-Georgia town of McDonough (local pronunciation: mick DON a) to visit with Amy Lovelace, who spends at least an hour a day, every day, hitting golf balls. She also plays 18 holes once a week and nine holes on another outing.
Amy is 46, married (her second) and has two dogs and three cats. She is slender and tan, has green eyes and long, honey-colored hair pulled back beneath a black Titleist baseball cap. The muscularity in her arms and shoulders attests to the 25 years she’s spent in the gym.
Amy’s been a clerk at ABF Freight Systems for 23 years and drives a 5-series BMW, but it’s golf that defines her life.
"It’s the only thing I do really well," she says. "My husband says I’m obsessed."
The image of Amy in prescription sunglasses, black, sleeveless Polo shirt, short black polyester skirt and dust-covered white and tan golf shoes drilling balls into a wide, green field has come to mind often in the past few days. I’m working on a golf story, but that is not the issue.
It’s been five years and seven months since I was laid off from a job that I should have left months before when I realized that my purpose lay elsewhere. In the years since I’ve done everything from working in a warehouse to writing for websites. I’ve refinanced my house a couple of times, started a new career (acting and modeling) and revived an old one (journalism).
I’ve also worked diligently at cleaning up my past so that I can live more powerfully – and more fruitfully – in the present. Trouble is, there’s not much fruit. I’m down to what, in the drug days, we used to call "stems and seeds."
Last week, I had dinner with MJ, the woman I broke up with a year and half ago, and tried to articulate what it is I’m about. It came down, inevitably, to spirituality.
"You’re in the barn," I told her, "but there are a lot of people out there who aren’t in the barn, or even close. I have a feeling that, because of the mistakes I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had, I can reach some of them. And maybe even bring a few of them into the barn."
The barn, of course, is belief in a higher power. MJ is what Supreme Court scholars used to call a "strict constructionist." She has an unwavering belief in the Bible as the word of God. I’ve never gotten much of a buzz from the Bible, and have found inspiration in more esoteric materials. Which makes me a "loose constructionist."
Trying to explain to my friend K a few days later, I said, "I’m the guy holding the door to the barn, but I’m not in the barn. I’m too much the sinner. But there are a lot of people out there who subconsciously want to be in the barn, and they are turned off by conventional religion. I think my purpose is to connect with some of them."
Considering the work I’ve outlined for myself – writing, producing, interviewing, appearing on-camera – I see no limit to the possibilities. So what’s the problem?
Two things, I think. A clue to the first is on my refrigerator door. It’s a card my brother Phil sent me a few years ago. On the front is an overhead shot of a skier carving his way through moguls big enough to hide Hannibal’s elephants. At the bottom, these words: "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals."
Working outside the corporate walls for the first time in my life, filled with doubt and uncertainties, I have focused on the obstacles. And as Jesse Jennings writes in the August issue of Science of Mind magazine, "obsess on the mountain, and you may well manifest a range of them."
Having manifested a towering, snow-capped range, I must now make it disappear. I found encouragement in that regard on a tape called "The Law of Deliberate Creation."
"All you have to do is find an excuse to feel good," says a group of beings calling themselves Abraham through channel Esther Hicks.
There’s much more to it than that, of course, and lest it sound like an invitation to hedonism, it is anything but. It means to focus on desires and activities that align with who you are at the core of your being.
The second problem is that I keep thinking I’ve got to do this alone. But K reminded me of something she’d read recently in God Calling. God Calling, passages for every day of the year seemingly channeled from Jesus by two British women, is listed in TOOLS on my home page. My own copy, underlined, high-lighted, hand-indexed and held together by packing tape, disappeared last month when Delta Airlines lost my suitcase.
"He said it doesn’t matter if you don’t remember what you read," K said. "What matters is to stay in His presence."
That’s probably the best advice of all, the Cliff Notes version distilled to its essence. I’ve tried it before, and it helped. Seems like it’s time to get as serious and disciplined about it as Amy Lovelace is about golf.
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