From our Minister, Rev. Tony Lorenzen

“Do Over”

Dear Beloveds,

When my son was four years old, we went to an amusement park and one of the things we did that day was play mini-golf. He loved it! He became a mini-golf aficionado. We couldn’t pass a mini-golf course without him begging to stop and play. I never drove past the mini-golf courses in our area with him in the car unless I was prepared to stop and play – or listen to him plead, beg, and even cry if we couldn’t stop. 

The first year or so he played the game more like hockey than golf. He hit the ball and then ran after it and hit it again, often before it stopped rolling from the previous hit, until he steered it into the hole. He raised his arms, and the club, as he had just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal. Eventually he learned that the game wasn’t supposed to be played like hockey and this threw him for a while. Every time he mishit the ball or missed a shot, he’d run after the ball pick it up and yell, “Do over!” He would then run back to spot of the previous shot and reshoot. He didn’t like the term “mulligan.” It was just “Do over!” When he was really frustrated it became a stream of consciousness and yell of despair, “Do over, do over, do over, doover, doever, dooever!!!!”

The do over is a fundamental and foundational component of young children playing just about anything.  “Wait, wait, do over!” There’s no anxiety ridden phone calls to friends and extra appointments with the therapist, getting into a funk about what they’ve could have done differently or better, it’s just an immediate stop and a demand, even a command, to try again. Do over.

As we grow up, we give up the do over. We become resigned to the fact that there are things we don’t do well. We give in to the cultural demand to let our failures stand. For some reason, we begin to relegate if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again to childhood. And yet, the art of the do over is a necessary part of the practice of renewal.

Life is a series of do overs. And embracing the do over can help us refresh when weary, renew when worn out, and reinvigorate when depleted, reboot when we freeze and get stuck, reinvent ourselves when life seems to have run its course on the path we were on. We start over all the time. It’s not really a big deal. All of us engaged in the biggest starting over of our existence today, we got out of bed and tried again another day.

I don’t know anyone whose life isn’t’ filled with a history of stops and starts. I bet you are a master of starting over, just like me. When I was a kid growing up, I wanted to be President of the United States. Then I wanted to play for the Boston Red Sox. Then I wanted to be a rock star. When I was in college, I wanted to be a writer for Rolling Stone. Then I became a teacher. And then I became a minister. I kept doing it over until I ended up where I am now. Careers are but one place in life we do over. Those who struggle with addictive behaviors do over.  Anyone in a long-term relationship knows how to do over or the relationship wouldn’t have lasted long term. Most Unitarian Universalists are people who have started their religious life over. One of your do-overs is probably why you’re reading this.

This month as we focus on the theme of renewal, ponder how you’ve rebooted, refreshed yourself, and started again after what seemed to be the end of the line. We’ll all fail, we’ll all run out of time, money, and patience. We’ll all come to a place where we think we “just can’t” any longer. And then grace will happen.

Decide to accept the opportunity and understand that you need compassion for yourself and for others because the do over needs to be granted. When I was growing up, anyone who asked for a do over got it.

Wishing you grace and peace,

Rev. Tony