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GUEST COLUMN: On my way to Iconium

Deck Cheatham

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

“But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and came to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13: 51,52).

Spring is peeking from under winter’s blanket, attempting to wake and greet its season. Sometimes it reminds me of me. It just doesn’t want to get out of bed. But as my clock moves, my feet hit the floor and the day begins. Spring will do the same. The azaleas always demand their moment and my day never waits. Despite my desire the earth rotates.

There is a rhythm to this movement, a perpetual motion of routine keeping time with a metronome of intent. But in my daily walk, life is indifferent to the tempo by which I wish to dance. Life follows its own maestro.

I’ve heard the preacher talk about a daily walk with Christ. I’m not sure what it means. The idea suggests a posture I cannot define. The obvious occurs to me — pray daily, read the Bible, contemplate the day’s verse — and the toughest one — love thy neighbor when thy neighbor is unlovable because they’re making noise as I’m trying to sleep before an early tomorrow. These make me think walking with Christ is a matter of convenience, an undisturbed view of verdant pastures. Life and Christ suggest otherwise.

I wish the idea to be concrete, but walking with Christ is more elusive, vague and problematic. I’ve lived long enough to distinguish the difference between “Umbrella” days (sheltered and shaded) and “Salmon” days (always swimming upstream). But more than those days, the problem is me. Knowing too well my imperfection, walking with Christ educes my ineptness. I am unworthy to will myself to walk with him.

Carlo Carretto in his book “In Search of the Beyond,” says “Jesus is also our brother, and as such he takes his place beside us, to teach us the path we must follow to reach the invisible. And to make sure that we understand, he translates into visible terms the invisible things he has seen — as man he acts as God would act; he introduces the ways of the family of God on to the earth and into the family of man.”

Repeated failure opens my mind to invisibility. It is not so much that I walk with Christ, but that Christ walks with me even when I am absent He walks with me even when the skies brood, when the world leans against me, when my neighbor elicits a terse response, when winter hangs on and Spring comes in its own time, not mine. Christ is there to remind me and disturb me to his perspective. His walk with me has a set of rules in which I have no part in the negotiation. Mine is to listen.

Like Paul and Barnabas, I must learn to shake off life’s dust and march forth to Iconium with Christ walking at my side.

“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.