WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES Second half spells doom as Greyhounds fall to Hillcrest 42-12 in finale Senior Profile: Sarah McFarland WU’s Horton will continue golf career at SSU Lady Devils’ season ends in heartbreak with 3-2 loss in District championship battle Christine R. Ritchey Operation Christmas Child begins Nov. 14 Mental Health levy on tomorrow’s ballot Wanda L. Nixon David Rogers Robert “Bobby” Leonard Keneth Waters
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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.

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Loren Hardin

Straight Paths

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