Musings on Road Signs

I have been on the road quite a bit this summer. Recently my daughter had a baby in South Carolina and I have been back and forth to see her and her family. I have traveled in the opposite direction to Mississippi, as well, seeing our grandchildren who live there and bringing them to our home in Georgia. The SC trip takes me off the interstate and out into the country while the MS trip is all interstate and road construction!

Earlier this summer I was driving a stretch of road from Neeses to Orangeburg when I happened to notice the name of a road…the sign read Snip Dillard. Hmm, I thought, wonder who this road was named after? Wonder if the person’s occupation was tied with his or her first name? Your imagination might being going in the direction mine went to when I thought a tailor? A tinsmith? A veterinarian? Could we be related? Dillard could be a lengthy version of Dill…

I thought about this name for miles and miles! Even now, it makes me smile! I live in the country, northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. We have quite a few interesting roads near us. Emmett Still makes me think of prohibition and having a distillery hidden behind a barn! Callie Still might have been married to Emmett or even his cousin! Gum Creek Road is another interesting thoroughfare I’ve driven on. There is actually a real creek called Gum Creek that runs nearby. This name conjures up the Sweet Gum Ball trees of my childhood, not chewing gum!

My husband’s hometown has a memorable crossroad that you can see on any postcard from Aiken, SC. Easy Street crossing Whiskey Road. There are quite a few legends about that memorable crossroad. I saw it first when I visited Tom’s family for Thanksgiving my freshman year at Clemson University! It was an Aiken icon that every visitor must see!

My last road ponder takes me back to the year 2005. I had just been hired by a church in Lawrenceville, Georgia to implement, launch, and direct an adult day program. The program needed a name and I had been asking people for ideas. I asked God for a sign that I would know it was the right name for this ministry. Before I began work at First United Methodist Church, I sat in the parking lot and prayed Proverbs 3:5-6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.” New International Version

This verse was my personal compass as I directed this ministry. I believed He would answer that prayer! He did in an amazing way. Not long after that prayer for direction I was driving to the Alzheimer’s Association for a training class. As I was driving down Clifton Road, I noticed a road intersecting mine. There was my sign; literally and figuratively. It was a name that tied into the mission of our program and the church. Sixteen years ago, this month, that program launched with a name that came from a road sign: Grace Arbor! It has been a place of refuge, safety, and God’s grace since its inception. Soli Deo Gloria! Great things He has done!

Painting by Dave Muilenburg of Dottie Ann Dill, my first therapy pup at Grace Arbor

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