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GUEST COLUMN: God is an audience of one

Deck Cheatham

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

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4: 7-9).

Before I wrote, I thought and lived, sometimes away from convention. Odd is the way my mother described it. Perhaps it was Oscar Wilde or maybe George Bernard Shaw who said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” Emphasizing the point, youth is a terrible thing to waste on the young. The saying evades wisdom’s virtuous economy. The young, living dream to dream, exert energy on an audience of that one intent – self. At the time, this didn’t seem odd to me.

An admission is relevant here. Last week, in writing this column, I wrote the word “serviced.” But the word never appeared in the column. Editing, “serviced” was replaced by “surfaced,” the word I was thinking when I wrote the sentence. Mortified at the obvious synaptic degradation, then laughing at my mistake, youth appeared as a distant vapor.

Each day now delivers tangible symptoms I am closer to eternity. But, there are “miles to go,” said Robert Frost.

So, I remain optimistic. Life has taught me there are new audiences. The road ahead is filled with miles indifferent to my youth. Talent will only take us as far as life allows.

I am reminded a farmer who looks back when plowing, plows a crooked row. The plowshare and coulter demand a steady hand and a fixed eye toward the row’s end. So, I go, ever onward, always forward, renewed in the spirit, perishing outwardly, pressed on every side, but not destroyed.

Life furrowed perspective in my mind. My audience, once my own dreams, my own desire and want, is no longer.

A church pew offers insight.

Hard, discomforting and rigid like the bony structure it supports, there is an uneasy, niggling pain one feels sitting in a church pew. I suppose sinners should squirm in God’s presence. But somewhere along my furrowed row, I realized sitting in the pew I was no longer there to be fed by a good sermon or applaud an awe-inspiring harmonic anthem. My youth spent, this light affliction bothered me one more time to the realization I was there to worship the audience of One. I am happy the choir and preacher are there to join in.

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4: 16,17).

I am plowing a new row, my eyes fixed on the audience of One.

“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.