Deck Cheatham

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton.

I didn’t notice when it happened. Somehow I found myself feeling nostalgic about Rod Stewart. A sudden compulsion to go to Walgreens and buy Grecian formula startled me. Vanity had never visited me before, just enough grooming awareness to be conforming. Evoking these thoughts, I stared at the picture confronting me, a fine Norman Rockwell scene if he were just present to paint it. I thought the man in the picture looked strangely like someone I knew, maybe my Dad.

The scene was apple pie — a grandfather sitting stately in a golden, brushed velvet winged back chair reading a bedtime story in whispered tones to his granddaughter. The lamp offered enough light to read while signaling the day’s end. The scene glowed with genuineness and warmth. But the man in the picture was not my Dad. It was me. Unsettled, I saw, for the first time, an old me, a bodily remnant of a memory.

I fought the shock with a denying, reasoned reassessment. I did not go to Walgreens. After all, I had an eye appointment the next week. Maybe new glasses would clarify things. Or maybe, the prism through which my self-image formed misled me or more, I allowed it. Too heavily and often I relied on filtered information chosen by someone ill-equipped for the task. The picture possessed a thousand words, but only one truth – time had etched its caricature.

If I was sincere in my desire to be close to God, my spiritual life had to experience a similar, startling moment. My journey had to end in a place where stories and fairytales, the bonds of worldly commonality, no longer sufficed. I wanted to believe coming to God was a “come as you are” proposition, what I believed for too long meant “come as I wanted.” As He desires us all, he meant “just as I am.” His mystery revealed the subtle and stark difference. I realized “Just as I am” meant “Just as He sees me,” not what I manufactured for Him and others to see. God obliged me the truth.

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

Finality can be freeing. My reconciliation did not depress me because there was nothing I could do to attain it and nothing I could do would separate me from it as long as God willed it.

My body may be old, but my spirit is young and renewed…. reconciled.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Contact him at pgadeacon@gmail.com