When the hour brings stillness, even in the midst of confusion, I think that a lot of us, if not all, has a private sanctuary hidden within our conscious being. Nothing complex or difficult to reach, just a state which we can readily retreat to and sort out the experience of life. Perhaps for most, it is an unnamed region that we find ourselves when deep in thought. It may be the product of meditation or contemplation or imagination or whatever four or five syllable words you may choose. But it is real. It may not be a tangible substance such as wood, stone or iron, but to our spirits, it is an anchor to weight us to the realities of our life. It is, in spite of our hopes and dreams, our escape within us bearing a reality that can carry our hopes and dreams to the truth. It becomes a vision without the physical eye, which empowers our ability to see beyond which is seen, and view that which can be. It is the bedrock of faith. Faith is the immeasurable substance that allows us to know God and to accomplish that which is beyond our reach. If I have faith, then I can dream. If I can dream, then I have hope. If I have hope then I can have a life worth living. My point of refuge then is called Ballengee. Ballengee, a small community tucked away in the rolling peaks and valleys of my imagination.

Ballengee is the place that my imagination resides. I realize that you see me here or hear of me there, but it is in Ballengee that I resolve the question of life. Perhaps it is a strange state of being my choice to linger there, as Ballengee is a fictional place, but it also is the reality of my imagination. Ballengee is fashioned not so much by my dreams as it is by the realities of past reflections. This is just, like all fiction, I believe, is born in the truth. So I shall simply define Ballengee as the small town my imagination lives within and is manifested to you in the words I have written.

I once was a truck driver. A navigator of an eighteen wheeler trekking across the great backyard of America. Throughout the years of my road adventures, I made it a practice on Sunday’s to find a church to attend. I’m basically a non-denominational guy so the major consideration for a church was a large parking lot. Well, that would get me in the door but they had better be preaching the Bible if they wanted me to stay. It was very interesting visiting all those churches across this great land.

One thing of great interest was found in a small church located in Lodi, CA. A Baptist church if my memory is correct. As I was leaving I noticed a phone on the wall of the foyer with a sign beneath which read one thousand dollars a minute. I inquired with one of the members to learn that this phone was a direct line to God. To say the least I was impressed.

I have since then in many churches across the country noticed the same phone with the sign one thousand dollars a minute. At my inquiry the answer always the same. “A direct line to God.” My adventures finally brought me to the Church on the Knoll located in the lovely community of Ballengee, West Virginia, the almost heaven. They too, even in this small church of only twenty-four members had that phone a direct line to God. The only difference was that the price was only twenty-five cents. But as I shared in the worship service the personal testimony and witness of each member further impacted me. I felt that I had been brought into a sacred family of God. The Love of each for each was overwhelming. The welcome I felt was a measure beyond genuine.

I found this to be also true of the whole community of Ballengee. Here with my fellow members numbering only twenty-one hundred, I truly felt a part of each and every life there. Perhaps I enjoy most the simplicity of Ballengee. It is a place where folks have not strayed far from the moral fiber that binds society together. There is no question to what is right or wrong. Our Fathers placed the code in our hearts and we deny them not their wisdom. The elders here still lead knowing that where there is a breath of life, there is a duty. The young are taught early the joys of obedience and the despair of disobedience. Here the woman loves her man and the man serves his woman. It may sound as if Ballengee is a perfect little town but in truth, it is not. We do have our imperfections, our misfits and injustice. Yet the foundations are seldom cracked and love and forgiveness win the day. For here in Ballengee, the white horse still wins the race. I had then decided to settle down and become a citizen.


 Sarah Abrams   Lily Bridge 
 Caleb’s Baptism   “GONE FISHING” 
 BE NOT AFRAID  Glory to the Hero
 “The Churn”   When The Angels Sing 
 ANOTHER WAY   Get the Connection
 Scotty’s Offering   A Brighter Star
 A Walk with Clyde  Masked in Ballengee
The Outlying Light Snuffy Smith Sings a Hymn
The Loyalty of Hank Smoked Coffee
Peace Completed Agnes
A Wind Led Kite Mary Macbeth
A Little One’s Dream

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