Is it creeks end or creek’s end? How is one to know if creeks do end or possess an end? Only the apostrophe can tell the tale. If the cliché is true, an apostrophe turns possession from 90% to 100%.

Chuckling, I realize the reason I attend a writer’s critique group is for critique. As a novice, I expect it and need it. My fellow writer, someone I consider superior in skill, corrected my title. There it was highlighted in orange, my title “Creeks End” changed to “Creek’s End.” Yes, they do and yes, they have one.

Driving home from the meeting, a wry smile covered me. I chuckled some and began to laugh a bit as my thoughts skipped along toward the meaning of a little apostrophe. Its presence makes all the difference, a writer’s placement all the meaning.

Consider the apostrophe. Stark, it hovers alone between letters, suspended in space, there, on the page and unnoticed, lost among all those words before and after, but firm in its stance. Like the lone shepherd, it sits high and statuesque. But does a reader ever stop and consider the prose without it? What meaning is intended by its presence? What without it?

I should think God an apostrophe. His presence gives meaning, a purpose beyond becoming a nice person, more than a feel-good “kum ba yah” camp song moment. Come by here Lord we ask but come and stay. And in the inviting and the staying, God’s presence apostrophizes our life, changing the meaning of an otherwise primordial cheeseburger existence. And when God becomes the apostrophe in our life and gives meaning to it, we become as one with Him, making a difference to those lives with whom we engage.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10). God’s affirmations sound like an apostrophe to me.

Language possesses all the nuance, punctuation all the emphasis and finality. Whether we become a contraction or show belonging, God places us where we are, sometimes superfluous and sometimes significant but always punctuated in service to His will. God intends us as apostrophes. Our placement, our presence or absence, illumines the intent.

Along our way, life placed in our path people who made a difference. Some were positive, some negative, but their presence mattered. And if they mattered to us, do we not also impose a subtle and often stark difference to those we encounter? Does not our presence punctuate meaning?

An adolescent question might ask, “If you were a punctuation mark, what would you be?” I pray my tombstone needs no inscription but an apostrophe.

What a random thought – God as punctuation. But then, our critique group meets at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Or is it Dunkin’s Donuts?

“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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