Those now distant, youthful, washed away days were carefree when my breathing synchronized with other heartbeats running and playing whatever game arose spontaneously – tag or red rover – sweating and exerting, then collapsing within dusk’s reach to ponder some told tall tale. Innocent laughter ignored any considered future as a faint maybe sometime or someday, not now.

I knew only sunrises and sunsets as encapsulated lifetimes, each day presenting itself – free and eternal – unrestrained by yesterday or tomorrow, each one halted and immortalized as an airless, endless, summer Southern night drifting into sleep. I lived into life, dreaming dreams toward an infinite night, steps away from the glow of my back porch light.

Youth filled my mind with equal hopes and possibilities before time exerted its limiting shoulds and oughts and forks in the road. If C.S. Lewis is right and “life moves not toward unity, but away from it,” I moved toward what appeared to be and, I thought, what is inevitable and ordained. I moved away.

My first move away from home, unity as I knew it, was not my choice. Outside Cameron, S.C., Mom and Dad bought a house, a right turn off Road 33, and then a few miles down. Moving became a first look over my shoulder back toward a place to which I would never return and never forget. Youth can be lost without knowing when.

My youth offered hints of roads and forks to come. Those shotgun shacks and cotton fields and folks with no last names whispered in my ear. Nothing is ever inevitable.

Modern life is defined by moving, and this means there’s always a fork, a decision to be made, however small and harmless it seems. We’re always deciding even when we do not or are unaware deciding is what we’re doing, and at times, others decide without us, often in spite of us. Real life is a unity below the illusion we choose to live, that Being inside us united with eternity, not time. And each attained and layered illusion must be peeled away to reveal those glimpses of this real life.

A Christian life is not immune to this world’s “what is.” To live such a life, against an unraveling away from unity, “what is” must ultimately surrender to “what is good.” We must, in our best sensibility and faithful effort, live into the Good Book.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NKJV). And all who believe are called to His purpose.

I wish to retreat to those encapsulated days. I cannot. I have moved away. But I have rediscovered their spirit, a real life with eternity. This I think, is His purpose, to live a life expressing such. For me, this means choosing His good over all possible contrived good we create.

It begins when two are gathered.

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

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.