Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam WUES recognizes November Bus Riders of the Month NAHS Beta Club sponsors canned food drive Peebles Elementary announces November Students of the Month Crisis text line reaches out during the holidays Paul Wesley Ailshire

A man of understanding

This is part three in a series about my friend and fellow pilgrim, Tom. In the previous columns, Tom shared his insights about humility and patience. It amazes me to see Tom, though paralyzed from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, still in pursuit of God and his will. Tom is the incarnation of the Apostle Paul’s words, “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-18)

I visited Tom today, and as usual, I asked him if God was showing him anything new and Tom replied, “He’s shown me I have a long way to go and a short time to get there. He’s been showing me that I need to be a better listener. I feel convicted about it.” He commented on the moderator of a Christian television talk show, about what a “good listener” the moderator was. Tom explained, “His guest talked about Jerusalem being the ‘fig tree’ referred to in Bible prophesies. He asked him to show him where in the Bible that it specifically says so. He never interrupted the fellow except to tie what he said to the Bible or to clarify something.” Tom concluded, “There aren’t very many good listeners. Most people are thinking about what they’re going to say next instead of really listening to you.”

As I listened to Tom, I realized that he was describing something beyond just hearing. He was talking about being a discriminating listener, about leading every word captive, listening with the intent of understanding. Tom pointed out how many of us accept what other’s say without question. “People will believe anything they want to hear or see,” he added “There are a lot of people who just listen to the preacher without studying it themselves.

“The fellow who wrote the song about Noah’s Ark said the animals entered by twos. But the Bible doesn’t say that. The unclean animals entered by twos, but the clean animals entered by sevens because they were used for sacrifices and food for Noah’s family. And people talk about the streets of gold but the Bible refers to the street of gold. There is only one street. You can check it out.” So I did and found that Tom was right. I couldn’t believe it. I’ve read that story about Noah’s Ark several times and have even spread the propaganda about the animals entering by twos. The old truism is true isn’t it, “Familiarity breeds contempt” and preconceived ideas can blind us too.

Unfortunately and naturally, we often pretend to listen, half-listen or just don’t listen at all. Why? Scott Peck in his book, “The Road Less Traveled” postulated, “The principal form that the work of love takes is attention. When we love another we give him or her our attention. The act of attending requires that we make the effort to set aside our existing preoccupations and actively shift our consciousness. Listening well is an exercise of attention and by necessity hard work. It is because they are not willing to do the work that most people do not listen well.”

I’ve often thought about the words of Jesus to his disciples and how they apply to actively listening and attending, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) In order to truly follow someone even in a conversation, you have to deny yourself, you have to set yourself aside and take up the challenge of truly understanding. So what do you say? Why don’t we join Tom in his quest to be a better listener? Let’s strive to be men of understanding.

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.” (Proverbs 20:5)

Loren Hardin is a social worker with Southern Ohio Medical Center – Hospice and can be reached by email at hardinl@somc.org or by phone at 740-356-2525.


Loren Hardin

Straight Paths

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