A Bisl Torah

Lessons from Putt Putt

Our family spent a morning playing Putt Putt. As someone with little patience during any kind of game, I am not an avid player. Unsure of whether it’s a universal rule, I was happy to learn that we’d have a limit of five turns per player before we moved to the next hole.

Everyone seemed to have a different strategy. In hitting the ball, my father-in-law, a seasoned player, was careful and measured. My daughter was quick and stubborn. The rest of us were somewhere in between.

At some point in the first few holes, my husband introduced the term, “Gimmes.” He explained that when you’re pretty close to the hole, you count it as a win and name it a “gimme.” A win without winning. Outrageous! While this may be accepted in the world of putt-putt and golf, it is entirely unacceptable in my book. No Gimmes in life, no Gimmes in Putt Putt.

Because unfortunately, that’s the truth. One may believe they are inches away from a finish line, success in sight, while the competitor breezes past, determined to push forward. I remember receiving my grade in Algebra: an 89.4, 0.1 points away from what would be considered an “A.” No Gimmes.

I’m often asked why God won’t give us exactly what we want. Why do we pray when God doesn’t seem to favor the “Gimme” rule? But I try to reframe the experience. Prayer isn’t always about granting requests. Prayer can be an opening for a conversation with God, refining and reclaiming one’s thoughts and direction. God has already given us the building blocks to grow and push forward. Should we ask for help, assistance, and support? Yes. Should we expect a hole in one without putting in the work? Probably not.

Psalm 121 begins, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains. From where does my help come?” The answer isn’t so straightforward. The Psalmist replies, “My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” God may be the source of help but heaven and earth are replete with God’s seeds of encouragement. Which means, often, God’s help is found within.

No need for a Gimme. God gives us exactly what we need. Just look within. Search with resolve and Grace. You’ll find what you’re looking for.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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