October 4, 2010: The Gift of Giving

~by Mary Galvano

Last Friday, I and two other golf professionals had the opportunity to give time at a rest home here in Jacksonville. We put together a 5-hole Putt-Putt competition inside and put up an indoor hitting net to hit golf balls into. It was a wonderful event!

Neither we nor the staff at the retirement home knew what to expect as many folks at this age have multiple health problems. However, what we saw was amazing! As residents started trickling in, the shyness and unsure feelings that came with them started to slowly disappear. We witnessed smiles and laughter. One man I was helping started out putting from his wheelchair when he finally said he wanted to get up and walk around. The physical therapist that was with me was astonished. He couldn’t believe his eyes! This man hardly ever gets out of his wheelchair. There was even a lady who ripped out her oxygen tubes to get out of her wheelchair to putt in the golf competition. The therapists were so amazed how golf was helping these folks, that they are now planning to put in a permanent putting green as a part of therapy.

It wasn’t the golf that was so important but the fact that we witnessed miracles of healing all afternoon. We saw lonely, elderly people becoming connected, happy, participating human beings again. They had importance in their life. They had pride and stories to tell. Often younger generations forget that people like this had lives before retiring. They were young once. Most of these men and women are from what our American history calls the “greatest generation, ” many had fought in World War II. Because of them we have freedom in our country.

The real miracle, though, wasn’t what happened in their lives the day we visited but, what happened in our own lives. As my fellow golf professionals and I were leaving we reflected on the great time we had and the great feelings that came with it. It was a true gift to be around such wonderful human beings. We certainly will do this again. There is no greater gift than to give to others and share the talents God has given each one of us freely. This is God’s true gift, the gift of giving! We don’t have to travel far to do this either, there are people right in our hometown that need our gift of love today.

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