Way back when my husband and I first started dating, I had this fun idea that he should take me to do something I had never done before but he had so I could learn about his excitement for it.
We were in college, pretty much broke, and lived in a pretty small college town. So we used what the university had at our disposal and hit up the golf simulator in the Rec Center.
When the Rec Center was built brand new in our second year on campus, this golf simulator was all the rage. Everyone was so excited about the golf simulator. And not to minimize it or anything, but it’s a screen where you hit a golf ball into it and through its many logarithms and what I have no doubt is fairly complex physics, it calculates how far your ball would go and land if you were in fact outside. But there’s no grass, no green, no fairway. Just a dark room, with a screen, big enough to swing a club.
So we made a reservation and went to whack balls at the screen. I was getting to learn about golf which had to be easy because old men play it. And I was getting to spend time with my hunky boyfriend who could teach me all about golf and wrap his arms around me all sweetly to show me how to use the club. And it would be sweet and romantic and fun.
For the record, I won’t say I’m an athlete, but I’m decently athletic. At the time, I was playing intramurals in various sports regularly plus I was on the club volleyball team. I had seen golf being played before and knew it had been turned into a science on Wii Sports Resort. So, really, how hard could it be?
I wish I could transport you to the tiny little dark room and you could pull an Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Dates Past on us.
I put the first ball up on the tee. Whiff. No big. First try. I’ll get it the next time.
Only this was followed by approximately 15 minutes of whiff after whiff after whiff.
There was crying. There was yelling. At the ball. At my boyfriend. There were attempts by my hunky boyfriend to do the cute, sweet, arm wrap-around thing, which was brushed off with my basketball elbows. I said I was giving up more than once.
He calmed. Encouraged. Pleaded. Yelled back.
This is probably the closest we came to breaking up, my SBMOG and me. In that darn, dimly lit golf simulator where I couldn’t hit the flinging-flanging ball and probably used harsher language than “flinging-flanging”.
15 minutes probably doesn’t seem like that long but think about how long it takes to swing a golf club, how many times that can happen in a minute. I was sore. I was tired. I was still whiffing. And I was feeling like an idiot as I threw a giant temper tantrum, but couldn’t manage to get off the crazy cycle.
Finally my (now) husband placed his hands no my shoulders, tilted my chin up, had a sweet smile on his face (don’t worry, my look back spit venom because I was being super mature at this point), and he said something to me I’ll never forget.
“Come on, you can’t have always been good at everything you’ve ever tried, can you?” he said with a chuckle, trying to lighten the tension filling the room.
I looked back at him with tears streaming down my face and I said “Of course I have. Why would I ever want to do something I wasn’t just going to be good at the very first time?”
It occurred to me this week that sometimes (ok, more often than I’d care to admit), I have this approach still. Only it comes out, not in a dimly lit golf simulator, but in my home, in front of my kids, and my husband.
I don’t want to start a routine for laundry because I’m not good at routines or laundry and I don’t want to fail right away so why bother at all.
The first day of sitting down and trying to have two kids doing school work at once is a lot more like herding cats into a bathtub than actual learning, and I think I can’t do it.
I think I can’t be an encourager because I don’t feel very encouragey so instead of putting myself out there, I sit in my living room and only take texts from my sister.
I don’t work on my marriage because it feels easier to pay attention to my cute babies than to my husband who makes me mad sometimes.
I try a new discipline approach with my kids and it doesn’t “work” the first time so I figure why bother trying it again?
Sometimes, as moms and wives, and all of the other many and beautiful hats that we wear, we feel like if we can’t get it right, right from the start, then why even bother trying?
But that’s what we do. As moms, as wives, as women, day in and day out, we’re faced with all kinds of things that we have no idea how to handle or what to do.
How to be a wife to a moving target.
How to push that baby out of us.
How to survive the first night home.
How to have that hard talk with our husband.
How to decide if our heart passion is something God has us doing right now.
The first day of school.
And a million other teeny, tiny, and absolutely gigantic things. The first day, hour, or moment of anything really.
How can we really be sure we can do this well? Well enough to even bother trying in the first place?
We don’t. And as hard and as scary as that is, it does not mean it’s not worth trying, not worth trying over and over until we get it right or find a way to make it work for us.
That girl in the golf simulator who finally, triumphantly, whacked the ball after 15 of the most miserable minutes of her life, and said she never, ever wanted to golf again, now owns a full set of golf clubs. And went golfing 7 months pregnant and rocked it.
You’re gonna rock it too. But you gotta keep swinging.