Monday, July 24, 2006

Tiger Woods & Dealing With Loss

Sunday Tiger Woods won the British Open again shooting a –18 under par. As usual it was a great display of professional golf. If you’re not a golf fan I should mention that Tiger is not only known for exceptional athletic ability but for extraordinary capacity to focus.

Though Tiger won, the story that all of the media was interested in was Tiger’s loss. If you didn’t see the finish, after the final putt and victory was assured Tiger uncharacteristically broke down in deep sobs. Tiger is usually the picture of emotional control, a kind of stoicism. But on this occasion Tiger was raw emotion.

This past May Tiger experienced his greatest loss in his 30 year life, the death of his father, Earl Woods. Though Tiger is a “once in a lifetime” golf talent, much of the reason he is a dominant force in professional sports is due to his father’s influence. In his post tournament interview Tiger commented about how he wished his father was there to see the victory and then with a broken voice said, “I just miss him so much.”

In a day of epidemic absentee fathers it is a great story to see a close father-son relationship. The point I want to zero in on is this: Tiger’s greatest sense of loss was felt at his moment of victory.
Tiger had been mourning his father’s death for over two months but by his own admission he had been keeping it bottled in so that he could focus on his game. He wanted to win one for his father. So, at the moment of victory Sunday all of that pent up grief came gushing forth.

We are complex people. The Bible says we are intricately woven. Though we may struggle to understand ourselves and certainly we struggle to understand others, God always and completely knows what is happening with us. He is full of compassion and what the Bible calls “tender mercies”. If you don’t know God in this kind of “fatherly” way, I encourage you to move closer to Him.

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