When I go home to Lincoln City, my number one priority is to make it home by sundown. I’ve lived in Eugene for the past six years and have seen some wonderful sunsets. But nothing compares to the sunsets from home.
And no, I’m not talking about Oregon coast sunsets in general; I’m talking about Lincoln City sunsets. Every time I see the distant sun rays reflecting off the scattered clouds as if the sky had caught fire, echoes of the past come alive. Salt in the air, cool breezes whipping through my jacket, and the soft roar of the ocean all mix together to send me back to my childhood – days when dreams were abundant and responsibilities few. It’s captivating.
Yes, when I was in Lincoln City this past weekend I had quite a few moments of nostalgia. And I know it isn’t a good idea to try and cling to the distant past, but what I felt this weekend was something more than a mere nostalgic moment. I felt as though I had left something unfinished. It was like the childhood me was trying to draw the attention of the present me to something very important – something in the core of my heart. It wasn’t until I reached the practice green at Salishan when I finally figured it out.
In my six years of living in Eugene, I’ve golfed for very few days. Compared to the amount of golfing I did in high school, I’d say I’ve only golfed 1% of that in Eugene. For the most part I discovered a new passion, writing. But beyond that I just stopped making time for it. Yeah, it’s different when you no longer have a job at a golf course, but still, I could’ve gone out once every other week, but I chose not to.
I shot an 84 on Saturday at my favorite course of all time. But what made me miss it so much was the hour and a half I spent on the practice green after my round. It was getting dark out and it was difficult to really see the breaks of the green, but I chipped and putted anyway. I don’t get very many opportunities to be on my home course, so I was going to milk it up no matter what. And when putts dropped and I imagined crowds cheering like I did in high school (and like I’ve done with every sport I’ve ever played since I was in the 4th grade), I suddenly realized I have unfinished business with golf.
I don’t intend this to be a manifesto for how I’m going to golf more – although it’s kind of like that. I intend this to be a simple reminder of what kind of pursuit Jesus asks of us. Yes, I’m making this switch because I don’t think it was mere nostalgia that I felt last Saturday night.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” – Matthew 18:3-4
God wants us to come to Him like little kids. Sure, this is no justification for slacking off on responsibilities, but at the same time, it means something very important: We’re supposed to dream.
When we read “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” we often think of simply having a child’s heart of faith. But when I think back to my early childhood, I know for a fact I did a lot of dreaming and imagining. If it wasn’t with my Legos and all my tanks, battleships, and fighter jets, it was with whatever sport I happened to be playing. From morning until night, I’d get my fill of the day in an imaginary world. If there’s one thing I really miss about being a kid, it’s that.
However, just because I’m 24 doesn’t mean I’m supposed to stop dreaming. Sure, student loans aren’t going to suddenly disappear and gas prices will continue to rise, but who says I can’t dream while I’m at work? Or, better yet, who says I can’t make a living off of dreaming? Job security and financial stability are important, but Jesus says there’s something way more important: living life like a child through faith, heart, and imagination.
Golf is now one of several passions. But that doesn’t mean I dream about playing in a U.S. Open any less than I used to. Going home this weekend taught me the importance of prioritizing. Just like how I made getting home by sundown my top priority, perhaps I should make pursuing my dreams and utilizing my imagination my top priority? Maybe, in the grand scheme of life, I need to chase sunsets more often?