Monday, February 22, 2010

Tiger Woods

(link: Tiger Woods Apology commentary)

Now that I have your attention, I wish to point out that what has happened to Tiger can happen to anyone. "How the mighty have fallen," is the phrase applied to such cases as Tiger's. If you Google that phrase, you find many people's take on the mighty, usually someone above the author's station, being taken down a notch or few.

While these people are the most visible, due to their success, I remind you that theirs is not an exclusive malady.

We are all prideful. We all wish, at one time or another, to be up on that pedestal of fame and glory.

In Tiger's case (from the news this morning), he will be taking some time away from golf to put his life back together.

Think of that, those of you who think that money buys happiness. A person whose personal success has brought him a 7- no 8-, or is it a 9-figure income needs to put his life back together.

So, what does a rich person like Tiger need to do to put his life back together?

The same thing you (and I) need to do: ask the person in the mirror two questions:

1 - What is the most important thing in my life?

The answer to this question is not "What I tell people on Oscar night...". No fibbing, stretches-of-truth or out-and-out lies allowed.

2 - What should be the most important thing in my life?

There are many good-sounding answers to this question. Many such answers are the stuff of Oscar night, or beauty pageant personal statements. They are the sweet-sounding lies we tell each other and ourselves when we get backed into the corner. Sometimes we ourselves believe them.

But, I'm asking for honesty here. The questions demand it, as our souls and our happiness depend on the answers.

My answers to these questions are ..., but wait a moment.

My play list needs to be updated. Most people listen to their favorite music in the background. Me, too. But, I also listen to old time radio, stories, history, philosophy, quite a number of things besides music. I haven't changed the list in a couple of months.

"So what?" I hear you asking.

Well, when I sat down, a reading of Locke's words was playing. Now, fittingly, it is the Mercury Theatre's rendition of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Perhaps you've seen or heard a rendition of the story this past Christmas season.

If Scrooge were asked these questions before his visitation of spirits, how would he answer, do you suppose? And on the following Christmas morning, how would he answer?

And the most important question - and answer - is:

What difference does it make?

Well, does make a difference?

Mr. Woods has had his own version of the ghosts visit. This reminds us of a lesser-known, but no less important, quote:

"Be sure your secret sin will find you out."

Some of us don't believe in sin, secret or otherwise. Many of us live in fear of it, harboring the guilt. A few of us live timid lives because of such a fear. The secret sin often occurred because the answer to the first question differed from the the answer to the second.

For some of you, the concept of sin is a non-starter. Let us call it the ethic of the Golden Rule: would you be happy if someone had done such a thing to you?

Yet, this still answers the first question badly, because it answers the second question badly; the focus is inward, not outward.

So, chuckle up your sleeve, whisper down a well, and, alone, face that person in the mirror:

What, in your heart of hearts, is the most important thing in your life?

When you distill all the answers, what most of us get is a version of: Me, Myself.

The answer to the second question points the way. Many people answer it this way: Others.

The best answer is: God.

The 'Others' answer is the purported message of "A Christmas Carol". And it is a good answer. For those of you who disagree with my best answer on principle, it may be the only answer. But, my God sacrificed Himself for us, before we even truly understood what was going on. If we let him rule, and follow His rules, we cannot go wrong.

His example of loving and giving is the best we have to go on.

Can you do it? Can I?

I will give it my best shot. So must you.

Yes, you can!

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