Deck Cheatham: Saints and consequence

Deck Cheatham

"It's a long and rugged road

And we don't know where it's headed

But we know it's going to get us where we're going

And when we find what we're looking for

We'll drop these bags and search no more

'Cuz it's going to feel like heaven when we're home."

— The Wailin’ Jennys

To say I accept a particular reason for ethical and philosophical positions is to say I accept their logical consequences, and as much, that the consequences were my end all the time, that the ethic was easier to adopt because it satisfied my end. And what I mean by end are all those “here and now” cravings strung together satisfying my present desire.

Cynics (an early Greek philosophy) love nature. Stoics pursue virtue. The humanist centers upon self. The postmodern leans into experience. The Contemporary steps outside himself. Each an end that ends. Philosophy exists for the living, but life’s ultimate end is death, a consequence contemplated as the last fact of existence. All life dies.

Philosophy answers life and fails eternity. Does the question then become what ethic must one inherit to deal with certain consequence?

He who wishes to disillusion himself with thoughts life may be made perfect adopting a certain idea is like the man who sets out on a hike and along the way becomes enthralled by the flora he discovers. Enchanted, he loses sight of his destination and never arrives at the rocky outcropping offering the grand view.

Or, he is beset by prickly brambles finding himself incapable of finishing his hike and now builds into his mindset a victim’s excuse. Neither condition allows the man to recognize the journey ends whether he finishes or not.

Time runs out on us all. Knowing the end comes, the wise man sets about organizing his intent to this reality. He knows love satisfies not itself nor seeks its own end. The soldier honors duty. The servant tends to the served. The missionary heeds the call. Each lays down his life for the other.

The blind man wishes to perpetuate — present and future — the same beauty or bramble that distracted him on his hike. He desires, as our Lord so eloquently pointed out, to build bigger barns all the while forgetting his life will be required of him this night. Saints make peace with fear and above furrowed ground strive toward light.

So, to what shall I be obedient? To some reasoned denial or to a reality awakening within me the truth there are more important things to attend to while I am here. Love seeks my attention. Neither the idealist nor the victim has grasped it. Both want to delay the reality — to keep the illusion under their control. Both wish to possess certainty and cannot because faith does not allow it.

“As for the saints who are on the earth, ‘They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight,’” (Psalm 16, A Michtam of David, NKJV).

“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. Write to him at

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