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Thoughts on “Bagger Vance”

by Lucky Garvin

It is my delusion, my compulsion, or somewhere in my software that I believe in angels; that’s why I loved the movie, Bagger Vance.   It is well-scripted film that reminds us to be careful whom we dismiss. Essentially, the story deals with an angel who comes to help a young golfer. The advice “Bagger” offers to the young man applies as well to life as to golf.

Most of the angels I’ve seen on the screen possess an enviable serenity, the result of their perfect confidence in God’s presence and involvement. It does not come of faith; angels have no need of faith. They know.

Reflecting on the movie, several thoughts occur:

“This is a game that can’t be won, it can only be played.”  This suggests something other than winning is the intention of our experience here. Could that intent be growth; becoming more than we have been?

The biggest challenge I face in “becoming” is to get out of my own way.

The things I fret about are mere backdrop, not the play; and the play’s the thing, our proper focus.

“See the field through soft eyes.”

Heaven’s alchemy: a simple smile or a “thank you”, spoken at the right time, spoken to a person we don’t recognize as needful, is transformed into something incalculably, transcendently precious. Thus, I can be a “part-time” angel, if I choose; and clearly my life has been occasionally touched by those doing Heaven’s work. Can we bring a smile to the face of Heaven, and not know it?

I think yes.

I’m sad I’ve never seen an angel or been witness to an epiphany. I’ve never had any objective proof of Heaven’s existence and regard. While I desperately want such an encounter, I would never pray for it. I fear the effect. What, in a human being, is the price of knowing? To believe in a god who stands before me makes no demands of my faith. Given such a revelation, I would cease searching, and the search, the struggle, is requisite for becoming. I would be a foolish man to pray for the one thing that would remove from faith its most important element: doubt. Still, it would be reassuring if God were more real to me.

Perhaps I should content myself with Bagger’s counsel: “There’s a place inside you where all the tides, all the seasons, and every turning of the earth – where everything that is – become One.”  I believe he’s right. This is where Serenity lives. Perhaps I should stop swinging so hard and “loosen my grip.”

So here’s a physician who believes in angels, whether in truth they exist or not. I concede that belief may make me an irrational man, but it also makes me a better man; and what else may we ask of a philosophy?

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