Do You Belong?
Do I belong? At the ripe old age of five months, I was adopted by some very loving and caring people. A country doctor and his wife were unable to conceive and looked to adopt. Applications were completed. Months of waiting ensued. Finally, word came that a baby was available. At the other end of Kentucky, a mother wasn't able to care for her newborn son and wanted to ensure that he was given a good home. Sight unseen (no selfies with the nurses), the young couple drove several hundred miles to meet this young person who would be come their son. Case workers made their assessments. The deal was done. Before the adoption was finalized, the young couple learned that they were going to finally have their own child. They decided to keep the young boy and the baby growing inside the young mother. From no children to two children in less than a year. Lots of changes had to be made. But, that wasn't all. Within the next five years, three more children would be added to the family and the young doctor and his wife bought a small farm just outside of town. Yes, I started it all, but did I really belong? I was the oldest. Growing up the oldest of five wasn't easy. Repeatedly, I was asked to set the example. Not knowing the way, this was difficult to do. An example for what? I just wanted to fit in. I was "Doc's boy." My daddy was "rich." That meant something to some, but I quickly learned it was hard to leverage my daddy's accomplishments without bragging and that wasn't helpful when I wanted to fit in. But, did I have a voice? Was anyone listening to what I had to say for who I was and not who my father was? Did I belong? I met a man a couple years ago who owned several Chick-fil-A restaurants in the area. I was there to gain some advice regarding franchising my business, but the conversation quickly took a different turn when I told him that I was adopted. It's all he wanted to discuss. He too was adopted and had a need to belong. That drive drove him to make a way for others. He described it this way. Please pardon the graphic representation, but he said he felt like he had been walking around his whole life with his umbilical cord over his arm trying to find where to reinsert the placenta. Wow. Where do I go to connect? Since our local school system wasn't up to par, beginning with the fifth grade, I was driven a half-hour each day to/from a private school in a nearby town. Did I belong? When there wasn't a way for me to play sports, I enrolled into a nearby boarding school for my junior and senior years. How could I fit in? College years were spent in the middle of Kansas at a small Christian college. Though I was still looking for where I could plug in, I was introduced to people who knew where and how. It seemed that I wasn't alone. Others were looking, too. Like me they had been given up for adoption. Oh, they grew up with their biological parents, but they realized they didn't feel connected. Awkward introductions. Surface-level conversations. They were looking to belong just as much as I was. Then, they introduced me to Jesus. I learned that Jesus wanted to connect with me, build a relationship with me, and come and live inside me and in the spring of my freshman year, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I was finally connected. I had arrived. I was going to be somebody. But, I kept looking. It turns out that I was looking for a partner that I could help me stay plugged in. Searching for Sue. She was happy, blonde, and popular. She had an infectious laugh and wanted to make you smile. There was only one problem...she was from Pennsylvania. Just outside Philadelphia to be exact. God showed me the person who would become one with me. After many ups and downs, we married two weeks after graduation. By the way, as evidence that Sue was the one my grades shot up and I went from barely getting by to making the Dean's List and graduating Cum Laude. After a year in Kansas, we moved to Philadelphia where I took a job with a computer consulting firm - another gift from God. After a couple years, I was given an offer to join a health-related software company where I would spend the next thirty years of my life. Yes, I learned that God loved me, sent His Son Jesus to pay for my sins, and His Holy Spirit lives in me. Yet, I still look to belong. As Peter said, "I am a man just like you." Where's all this going? Every person that comes through our doors is searching. They are looking for a place/people/process/etc. where they feel connected. Where they feel like they belong. No putting on airs. No special clubs or fancy shoes. Just play...together. At Play-a-Round Golf we strive to let each person know...
- You Belong. Have you ever been to a party that was dragging along, going no where? Then that one person showed up and all of a sudden, the party lights up. Why? How? They made you feel like you were in the right place. They delighted in seeing you. Their face lit up. It wasn't fake or contrived. They didn't put on a smiley-face mask. They truly let you know they were glad to see you.
- You are Smart. No, you're not dumb because you can't figure out how to do something. Our systems are complex. In some ways, they have to be. But, we're here to help you learn how to use them. We've heard just about every question you can conceive hundreds of times. You can do it. We can help.
- You are Good. One of the things we can do that other golf venues can't is to see how our customers are doing AS they play and remark intelligently about their round when they checkout with comments like, "Charlie had the fewest putts. Mike birdies two holes. Congratulations on keeping it in the fairway." No matter the score, there is always something positive to say about the person's round. You're better than you think.
Get the picture? Helping people plugin at Play-a-Round is what we're about. And we try to "do what we do so well that our customers can't help tell others about us." You Belong at Play-a-Round!