There is a miniature golf course not far from my house, so my granddaughter and I thought it would be fun to play. We paid our money, chose our clubs and balls, and happily embarked on the first of 18 holes.
Maybe it was because of the fivesome breathing down our necks, or maybe the cause was in ourselves, but my putting partner and I soon became rather sloppy and lawless. We took extra shots, we putted from anywhere we felt like putting, and the scorecard was abandoned by the time we got to Mount Rushmore (the course’s theme was U.S. tourist attractions).
At one point I tried to salvage the outing by attempting to instruct my granddaughter on how to hold the club and how to place her feet, how to pause before executing her move, how to visualize a straight line between ball and cup, and to take into account curvatures and slopes. She was not interested and continued to putt willy-nilly and rack up whatever score that comes after a triple-bogey.
What I noticed is that we were not having much fun. We were doing what we wanted to, rather than playing by the rules, but doing what we wanted to do was not enjoyable. We limped through the 18 holes (I even got two holes in one, by accident) but left feeling unfulfilled. She said nothing; I wrote this column.
In hindsight, I see that my granddaughter and I would have had a much better time if we had been disciplined and followed the rules. It turns out that without form there is no freedom, at least none worth having.
I think this principle also applies to more important things than an afternoon pastime with one’s granddaughter. For instance, a nation that has cast off all restraint and jettisoned longstanding laws that it considers to be confining and cramping of style vainly imagines that it will be happier for having done so. But that is a nation courting misery and unfulfillment. God has given rules to live by that give life. Like a fish who decides to live outside the confines of water, a people who decide to live outside the guardrails of God’s ordained laws is a people who will soon not be having any fun.