“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” – Maria, “The Sound of Music”
During the summer of 1973, I competed in many golf tournaments throughout the Rocky Mountain region. In one of these tournaments, I was paired with a fellow whom I will call Lenny. Lenny was an outstanding golfer from Cherry Creek High School in Colorado. At that time, Cherry Creek’s golf program was very competitive and highly respected.
During our 18 holes of golf, Lenny taught me an important life lesson that had little to do with golf. I learned that a few months prior to our meeting, Lenny participated in a qualifying round for a particular tournament that was very meaningful to him (i.e. he really, really wanted to make the team for this tournament). The top five qualifying scores would compete in the tournament.
After the qualifying round was completed, Lenny was told that he came in sixth place and would not be playing in the tournament, which was scheduled for the following day. The news was devastating to Lenny. He was so distraught that he broke into his parents’ liquor cabinet and drank a whole lot of alcohol (his parents were traveling away from home at the time). Lenny became so inebriated that he remembers very little about that day.
Early the next morning, Lenny received an unexpected phone call from his golf coach. One of his teammates, who qualified for the tournament, came down with the flu and was unable to compete. Lenny needed to quickly get dressed, grab his clubs and join his team for the tournament. To say that Lenny underperformed during the first round of the tournament would be a gross understatement. Because he broke team rules, Lenny was briefly suspended from the golf team.
Please do not become discouraged when, for whatever reason, you do not achieve an important personal goal. Keep a smile on your face, a song in your heart and keep on keeping on. Martin Luther King Jr. counseled, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” You will never regret maintaining a positive and productive attitude during disappointing times.
For example, my daughter, Tiffany, sincerely wanted to learn a foreign language while serving as a missionary for our church. Three of her siblings (Nicole, Matthew and Joshua) were called to serve in Spanish-speaking missions, and two of her siblings (Christopher and RJ) were called to serve in Portuguese-speaking missions. Tiffany was noticeably disappointed when she was called to serve in an English-speaking mission. However, she kept a smile on her face and tightly grasped her “infinite hope.”
After entering the mission field, Tiffany’s disappointment quickly turned to joy when she was told that, as part of her mission call, she would be learning American Sign Language so she could preach the Gospel to the hearing impaired.
Within a few months, Tiffany was effectively communicating with and hearing/translating for some of God’s precious children who cannot hear. While on her mission, Tiffany befriended two members of our church who are both deaf and blind. She has even learned how to “tactile sign” so that she can communicate with her two friends. This past June, Tiffany sent me an email in which she described the experience of tactile signing with her choice friends:
“It’s really different from regular signing. I can only imagine how it must feel to them when we do sign. Their whole life has been dedicated to reading Scriptures in Braille and doing family history work. Their physical bodies prevent them from doing many things, but their souls have unlimited potential, and it’s amazing to know people through their spirits.”
I am so incredibly proud of my baby girl and the positive attitude that she continues to maintain while engaged in her missionary service. I know that throughout her life, Tiffany’s ability to speak the language of the hearing impaired will be a wonderful blessing to her and many others.