In South Carolina, down along a branch of the old Dixie Highway, known as the Augusta Road, serenely shouldering the road is Lickville Presbyterian Church. Passersby traveling at 65 mph toward a focused destination might chance her postcard setting piercing their thought with a subdued and undisturbed scene. But too fast and too soon the postcard flashes as the image fades from mind.

To appreciate Lickville Presbyterian, one has to go there, stop and ingest her partiality. I have so ingested as a visitor during communion when after the service my cousin and I ate the remaining wafers. I’ve been to funerals at Lickville for relatives closing their earthly chapter. Somehow I missed family weddings because I was traveling life faster than 65 mph.

Turning from Augusta Road, her congregants slow in time and thought to amble onto her quieting lane and hear Rev. Lindsay Graham preach on “Life’s Ups and Downs” and the choir sing “In the Quiet Hour.” Stopping there will do that… quiet life’s ups and downs with word and time.

Spiritual journeys suffer a like need to stop and quiet. Troubled for a few years over an apparent contradiction in the Bible, I never took time to amble my way to an understanding. There is in God’s pages an obvious call to an either/or, no in-between, consequential life. This line-in-the-sand standard feels like company policy. It’s there for a reason but appears unfair.

Opposed in those pages in every way is God’s overwhelming directive to love. Doesn’t love excuse me from either/or? There’s muddy water on the way to Lickville. Lord, what gives? Must I choose?

Sometimes because we cannot understand God, we don’t or won’t try, substituting His urging for a practical “I’ll live my life my way, as I see it” designed proposition. After all, fairness is in the eye of the beholder. Experience is on my side here. I know when I’m troubled, God is stirring within me and I best slow down to listen. But I have to drive down the lane to get there.

Quietly, persistently, enlightenment shone in my heart as light glinted through the canopy driving down the lane toward Lickville Presbyterian. Evident now, those harsh either/or assertions were road signs to God’s affirming love, a destination He wished me to understand. Following those signs taught me every relationship became a trinity. This awareness, too fantastical to be untrue, dispelled for me any contradiction.

God wishes to be between us all.

Otherwise, anything goes.

Lost to me is how Lickville Presbyterian surfaced in my consciousness. Maybe it was the memories or better, the partiality I felt when there. I hope to return. Before the next funeral, a family reunion would be fun. We could gather next to the church in the Knight Activities Center and sing “In the Quiet Hour.” If it happens, I intend to follow the signs, slow down, turn, stop and amble down that quiet lane.

“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.

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