Now life in Ira Ricketts’ day demanded a certain nimbleness. There were always distractions, interests of various kinds to draw one’s attention to fill any self-gratifying desire. A good day’s work meant money for a nice meal out, a special purchase, enjoying a day of unfettered pleasure or some reason to impress the gang.

Time, the arbiter and master of all things mortal, knew Ira was vulnerable to these self-gratifying desires. Because Ira had shown weakness in small things, Time was sure he would falter when it mattered. Ira had expressed on many occasion a proclivity to want as much as the next person, to avoid responsibility by offering excuses.

Time had succeeded with a multitude of humans before. He thought Ira would be another notch, an example for the young imps to learn how best to tempt humans. The lesson was simple. Get them to think time was on their side, that they had plenty of it and there would always be another time to do the right thing. Get them to think of themselves first. He wanted to teach the young imps it was hard for humans to love God and neighbor when they believed time belonged to them and self mattered more.

Time waited.

It occurred as Ira leaned into the curve on his daily run before work. He had followed this path most mornings. The day was crisp, benign, void of traffic and nature filled the air. Ira’s thoughts drifted toward the peace he was experiencing, toward a sense of his good fortune to live life as he wanted. The breeze brushed his face and as he climbed the hill past the curve, he heard a faint sound. At first, he dismissed it as some animal. But with every few steps, the sound punctuated the air at random intervals.

Time could see his chance before Ira realized what he would encounter. Time thought to himself, “Today is the day to teach the young imps.”

The sound made Ira pause. Processing it with each step, he knew this was not an animal. Time did his best to get Ira to ignore it, to turn around and run home, dismissing this unknown as nothing. Ambiguity was on his side. Ira ran on.

Then, at the top of the hill, he saw in the ditch a mangled mess of chrome, a motorcycle accident. Underneath the wreckage, he made out a leg and an arm as the groans, now distinct, completed his curiosity. Time tried to get Ira to panic. He did not. Reacting calmly, Ira called 911.

Assessing what was before him, Ira thought to move the wreckage from the man. He stooped down and with a great heave, lifted the motorcycle. Filled with compassion, he tended to the man until the ambulance arrived.

God appointed Ira for this hour because he had great strength and resolve. In the moment, Ira forgot himself.

And as he forgot, Time disappeared.

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

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for some 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Please visit his blog at deckcheatham.com. Email him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.

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