Thursday, July 15, 2010

"I've Been There"

Anyone who knows my dad knows he's a golf nut. For his 60th birthday, his present to himself was a trip to St. Andrew's, Scotland, to play where the game was invented. This week the (British) Open Championship is being played at the Old Course at St. Andrew's, and my dad has been getting up before dawn to watch every moment.

Talking to him today, he remarked that although St. Andrew's is one of the courses that the Open rotates around every few years, his experience of watching the tournament is completely different because he's been there. He knows how hard it is to alter one's tee shot based on the strong, shifting winds. He knows how awful some of the bunkers are. He's been in awe of the history and tradition of the place. In some ways, having played at St. Andrew's makes him an active participant in watching the Open.
Something about having physically experienced a certain place deepens our appreciation of it. You notice more things in friends' vacation photos if you've been to the same place. If you hear a story about something that happened there, you can imagine the scene much more vividly. You realize how little pictures, even amazingly high-resolution digital photos, really can capture the beauty of actually being there.

I hear many people of faith say the same thing about going to the Holy Land. A friend of mine and her husband are leading a trip there in December. People who have been there describe reading and experiencing the stories of the Bible in a whole new way after they get back. I hope to get to go someday.

In an age where we have more access to information and images than ever before, there is still not substitute for having physically been somewhere.


Katie Z. said...

I think that is absolutely true! My family has taken many trips to Hawaii and it almost feels like a second home - if someone talks about having been there or has a story to share, it is an instant connection as I have a common language with them now.

Our conference sponsors a trip to the Holy Land every other year... and especially encourages the newly ordained to go. I can't imagine how my experience of the scriptures would change if I have the chance to walk beside the sea of galilee or on the streets of Jerusalem.

Cindie said...

A trip to the Holy Land is something Dennis and I have on our bucket list, also.