Saturday, December 12, 2009

"I am Tiger Woods."

Actually, I am Gail Henderson-Belsito.

But, like Tiger, I have believed the hype about how good and smart and disciplined and talented I am.
I have lied and cheated and stolen.
I have tried to cover my tracks, deleting emails and text messages, phone numbers and email addresses, throwing away letters and other objects, trying to change patterns of thought and speech and activity, hiding purchases and receipts - all in vain attempts to get rid of the evidence of my transgressions.
I have hurt and betrayed those I love and those who love me - and myself.
I have been caught, been remorseful, and begged for forgiveness.
I have had to confess my wrongdoings in front of others and ask for their forgiveness as well.
I have suffered dire consequences, including the loss of trust and the confidence of others.
I have spent countless hours and days, years in some cases, trying to restore my reputation and reestablish my integrity.
I have been looked upon with suspicion and doubt, fear and disappointment by those closest to me.
I have wept bitter tears of regret and shame, despair and dejection.
And I deserved every bit of the derision and accusation that came my way. I still do.
I have been unable to answer the question: "What was I thinking?"

I am Tiger Woods - Every bit of his self-ordained invincibility and self-confirming arrogance exist within me, in my heart, in my life, every bit of it.

But thanks be to God, it did not all end back there and back then in the muck and mire.
Thanks be to God that a time came when I was caught and had to own up to my wrongdoing.
I had to face my accusers - and there have been many - and plead for grace and mercy.
The good news is that I have been forgiven. I have been restored.
By the ones I hurt. By God.
It took a while, but I have even been able to forgive myself.

Let me be the first to admit: I am most definitely going to mess up again in the future.
I will hurt those that I love again and again. I will lie and cheat and steal again.
I know it. That is part of the human experience and the human condition.
And when that happens, I will ask for forgiveness again and again.

My heart breaks for Tiger and his wife, their children, their family, and their friends.
The ripple effects of his transgressions will reach the lives of people he doesn't even know.
This thing is far from over.

I pray that he and his wife will survive the shame and horror of all of this and be stronger people as a result.
I pray that he will come to understand the root of his behavior and be willing and able to abandon this way of living and choose life, real life based on confession and repentance, forgiveness and restoration, truth and love.
I pray that someday he will stand tall and strong in public again, speak of this valley in his life as the turning point that changed him forever, and that this will serve as a source of challenge and hope and inspiration for the millions who are watching this dreadful saga knowing full well that they also can say: "I am Tiger Woods."


Lisa said...

I'm right there with ya' on this one, sister.

I, too, am Tiger Woods.

Thank you this courageous post.

Your comment to me last week about recognizing our human-ness has really stuck with me. I am a Spiritual being having a human experience and there are certain wants, desires, needs, feelings, temptations, and foibles that will come along with that. Not one of us is exempt.

I have no business casting stones in anyone's direction.

Launa said...

Sometimes I think you are a genius. Today is one of those times. In fact, you might be a genius the whole gosh-darn week. Thanks for this.

ragamuffin diva said...

Me, too, girl. Me, too.

Karen Maezen Miller said...

Compellingly true. Thank you.

GailNHB said...

Thanks folks, for your support and kindness and honesty on this one. In all honesty, I have had several dreams where I was a personal friend of Tiger's, that we would ride in cars and walk together and talk. He would tell me about how hard it is being so famous but not having many close friends. I was grateful that he counted me as a friend. So it's kind of weird for me these days; I feel like a friend of mine is in deep pain and suffering the consequences of huge errors he has committed. This thing hurts me far more deeply than I expected it would.

And, yes, I remember my own major screw ups in the past. It's all coming back to me now. It is good to know that I have been forgiven - and I pray that Tiger will someday come to know the same feeling.

Thanks again for your presence here, friends.

michi herself said...

I stumbled across your blog and found this post so contemplative - thank you for sharing your gift. I would love to follow your other posts.
From a fellow fan of Leaving Church.

Tricia said...

Gail, I have commented here before on the beautiful way your thoughts flow through your pen to create the masterpieces I am blessed to read.

This one is speaking so loudly to me that I want to ask you a personal question, or at least share my own concerns. Would it be possible for you to e-mail me at my G-mail account? Tricia in Ohio

GailNHB said...

Thanks, Michi and Tricia, for your comments. I am always glad to know that my words hit a tender spot with someone out there.

Michi, I took a look at your blog and hope to be able to keep up with your musings as well. Thanks for coming back here more than once.

Tricia, I would love to correspond with you, but I don't think I have your email address. Feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you.


Mary Anna said...

Dear Gail,

Your blog is always inspiring, I enjoy reading every entry; this one in particular touched me deeply, it reminded me of how easy we pass judgement onto others. I am blessed to have been reminded that " I am also Tiger Woods"

If you haven't already, please consider writing a book.

God bless you.