“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

— Dr. Seuss

Language is never the word itself, but the nuanced meaning we share. Language has a boundary defined by history, culture, locale, familial bonds, patois and intent often communicated by body gestures, facial expression and voice tone. All this sounds a bit dry until it comes to life when strangers meet, (imagine a Southerner, a Frenchman, and a Bostonian conversing) and each looks at the other in exasperation and says, “You’re not from around these parts, are you?” Sometimes body language and gestures alone must suffice.

Southerners, and maybe other folk from parts unknown, claim more general and broad terms to supplant our inability to communicate. Words like cattywampus, hankerin, ragamuffin, thing-a-ma-jig, whatchamacallit, hineywhacker and hepazudik (as in “I’ve got the hepazudik”) come to mind … at least, they came to my Dad’s mind when more concise language was not available. Asking him to define them was futile. He had his own definition and learning them meant paying attention to the context, though I admit “hineywhacker” is a bit obvious. Unexplained, when these words take on life, when passed to folks from parts unknown, the meaning, not the words, claim the hearer. It’s like making a Frenchman an honorary Southerner. If he is so bestowed, he should just say thank you. A gift that keeps on giving, it’s southern hospitality at its best.

Saying thank you, sometimes, is difficult. Have you ever found yourself in a position of giving thanks because of some good favor graced to you, and you find in the attempt, any effort to do so is quite inadequate? A Christian must find himself exactly in this predicament. Hardly would he choose it, mostly, he would work to avoid it. For in the Christian’s life, the end for him while on earth is to discover he cannot repay God for the gifts so graced to him. But He desires him to be in such a predicament for the only right response is for him to live a life in service to God, for him to will his life into God’s will.

How would this manifest itself? I should suggest any good Christian finding himself so constrained must take on the lowly position every beginner discovers, namely, his life is constantly like an empty vessel waiting to be filled, seeking to learn that which he does not know. And this, I believe, is a perpetual now. God’s vastness must overwhelm us if our heart is to be full in His presence. Mere belief is not enough, only a beginning to a life and a language of thanks.

“O God!” I cried and that was all. But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansion of that one cry? It is not what God can give us, but God that we want.”

— George MacDonald

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.

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