Ever felt like 2 people in the same body?
Recovery from addictions …. It is a sweet life, the recovery life!
Professional Golfer – me, Penny Pulz
The setting is beautiful Marquette, Michigan, during the 2015 UP Celebrity Golf Classic, its 5th annual funding UP Beacon House. I turned the corner. The wheels of my golf cart were gliding on the cart path, the steering wheel was not being a steering wheel, the cart’s momentum shifted into, “OMG, I am going to roll this *$#%! golf cart. “Help, help!” – there I lay – cart roof smashed over my belly and right arm pinned to the path. “Help!” By the third help, Golf Course, Marquette Country Club my two playing partners, Deb and Jill, miraculously lifted the cart roof using their super charged adrenaline surge. Thanks ladies! My emergency adrenaline instinct kicked in telling me to get-the-heck-out-of-the-way. My rollaway move was implemented, not elegantly but with high efficiency. I recall this same kind of adrenaline rush feeling; I was standing on the 72nd hole during the Corning Classic golf tournament. It was just before smashing my golf ball right down the middle of the fairway. I won that day too.
In the next minute, literally, the best medical team magically appeared, Dr. Songer and Kimberly, ER nurse, determining if I was able to focus on their questions or where in my body I felt pain. The outside world around me was buzzing checking my vitals. Thanks team, I am forever grateful. In that moment, I was experiencing high drama making it imperative that I manage my emotions NOW. I dove into my ‘Penny-tunnel’. I did not want to add complexity to this highly emotional moment by having a panic attack. Panic attacks mirror a heart attack which has been my experience in a different time and space.
I had learned – but didn’t know I had learned – about managing my emotions when I was eight years old. I had meningitis as a kid; each evening as my parents would have to leave my hospital room, my mind and body would feel the panic of being alone. I dreaded that time. I would become very scared and frightened causing my body to shake all over from the worry.
Kids are smart. I came up with a simple solution. Staring at the teacup, laser beamed to its picture until I was immersed in the picture. Somehow it created a focus tunnel with walls so thick that nothing could penetrate. Magically the fear, panic and shakes of being alone subsided.
Adults are so dumb. It took me 20 years of study to understand the focus system to manage emotions but only two minutes as a kid to intuitively know it. Go figure!
“Ready to stand up?” came the request. “Yepper” I replied. I was in shock. Shock feels a dream state evolving around you all the while your internal focus is super alert to all emotions, feelings, senses and thoughts inside your head. Who do I listen to, me? No, don’t think so. The reality of shock is that you don’t know what is best for you in that moment; it drives you to become agitated as you attempt to discern the appropriate course of action.
Now I am feeling anxious, like a ship without a rudder. Thoughts darting, feelings jabbing my fragile nervous system. “What do you want to do Penny? Go to the hospital?” asked Eric from EMS. I paused to take a breath and then anchored myself into Coach Steve Mariucci’s famous deep blue eyes. Speaking directly to those eyes that seemed to reach through me, I said,”Coach, I have been coached all my life, just tell me what to do.” I kept looking into those eyes. Do I go to the hospital or not? “Do what they tell you to do.”, he smiled. “OK. Thank you sir.” Comforted beyond words by Steve, my eyes turned to the EMS team signaling thumbs up; I surrendered into their care. All the way to the ER we talked smack like athletes do under the gun. I give thanks to Eric and Jamie, (not sure of her name), for making me laugh and talk about a whole lot of nothing while enduring the ride.
In the ER, by myself. “OMG, I don’t do well with blood, I’ve been known to faint.” Just as I was feeling another shock wave of shaking coming on, again wondering how to manage my emotions without my family around me, Sue LeGalley, a founder of Beacon House, walked in and asked quietly, back to the golf party, patched up but ready to catch up with my team!“Would you like me to stay?” Thank you Sue. Her patty pat and gentle rub when feeling queasy was the quiet warmth of caring that soothed my soul and gave me the mojo to bounce back to the after golf party three hours later to see how my team finished. I did enjoy the most of the golf party, stitched, stapled and patched, but sorry to miss the finale. I heard a well-deserved standing O was delivered to Steve, Mary and the whole organizing team. Yeah!
Listening to Mary Tavernini, CEO of Beacon House who is an amazing connector, cry as she shared a guest’s story describing how it felt to be alone in a hotel room for the first time in over 40 years as her husband received care at the hospital. But she found her ‘home away from home’ at the Beacon House; the safety to rest between hospital visits. I learned and felt the heart and soul of Beacon House and those who tirelessly raise funds keeping the doors open for the thankful hearted guests each year.
The stone door knobs from Superior Lake on the guest kitchen lockers, the chef aprons signed by athletic teams who served food, the five year kitchen volunteer (Elizabeth) who always has a pot of coffee going, the beautiful wood paneling covering the stark heaters, the new roof and windows, the well used sofascelebrity authographed apron for Beacon House draped with prayer shawls made by women of faith, the wheel chair accessible doorway installed just in time for a gentleman who required that entry to be a guest, TV rooms for camaraderie around ball games; all of this being gifts from the UP community. The silence, the sense of holiness, the sense of peace, the sense of love beyond understanding is without a doubt present. All of this I was blessed to experience in a couple of hours of storytelling from Sue LeGalley as we meandered from room to room before being driven to the airport and homeward bound.
As a guest for this event I stayed at the historic Landmark Inn. Gorgeous!! Thank you. I became a spiritual guest of the Beacon House at the golf course and at Beacon House itself. I was a recipient of the loving spirit, the gentle, strong, unwavering Beacon House spirit, which permeated the 2015 UP Celebrity Golf Classic. The man who carried the Beacon House spirit into the golf course? Marc Gilmore, the PGA man who makes the golf course tick with kindness. Thank you Marc. Money raised from the 2015 Celebrity Golf Classic is over $175,000. Incredible.
The Lesson I Received
On a personal level, FOCUS on God every day; be alive. Be present to the Holy Spirit at work in the ordinary and extraordinary works will happen.
Your grateful new friend,
P.S. I am grateful for the wakeup call; I rolled a golf cart and what happened …
“Don’t you think it was a bit overly dramatic, the crash, to get my Focus on you God? NO! You think I am a bit thick in the head sometimes – haha! You are quite the comedian God but you have my attention. Love you back.”
P.S.S. Next year, I am not driving. Free golf and focus tips for my driver next year at the 2016 UP Celebrity Golf Classic … of course not while driving.