David Kierzek Theresa C Davis Edward F Storer Ralph Rader DP&L to stick with planned closings Preventing tax season identity theft 4-H awards 11 local scholarships Peebles Elementary holds Spirit Week Humane Society to hold Radio Auction Local business partners find historical treasure in old bank building DP&L employees meet with union leadership GE-Peebles Test Operation joins the campaign about Distracted Driving North Adams Elementary recognizes February Students of the Month Senior Profile: Sydney Michael Stars will shine for the 34th annual C-103 All-Star Game NAHS Track/XC host Shamrock Shuffle 5K Associated Press names All-Southeast District Teams Senior Profile: Hannah Howard Nice to finally be a small part of March Madness The tractor has always been special Jimmy Nelson Kathryn Boldman James E Downs Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards

The happiest days of my life

Joe was born to a mother he felt didn’t want him. His family told him that when he was born that his mother ordered the hospital staff to, “Get him away from me.” Joe commented, “She had children but didn’t want children. She treated children okay but she never really liked them.”

Joe admitted that he was different as a child. “I was sensitive, baby-faced and weak from rheumatic fever.” Joe also suffered from chronic mental illness, Bipolar Disorder, also known as Manic Depression. He experienced multiple psychiatric hospitalizations during exacerbations of his illness. (For those interested in better understanding Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression, I suggest you read “An Unquiet Mind” and other books by Kay Redfield Jamison.)

Joe was artistic and creative, as many people with bipolar disorder, “manic-depression” are. Kay Redfield Jamison elaborates on this in her book, “Manic Depression and the Artistic Temperament: Touched by Fire.”

Joe declared, “My mind has been my best friend and my worst enemy.” He shared how he’d been ridiculed and rejected all his life for being different and stated, “I always wanted to be wanted, but I settled for being needed. So I’ve always tried to make myself needed and I went overboard trying to please others.”

When I met Joe he was in his late sixties. He’d been residing in a nursing home for a couple of months and had been battling cancer for two years. As Joe reflected on his illness it was as if a light came on and he concluded, “But do you know what? The last two years have been the happiest years of my life.”

I asked why and Joe replied, “You know, I’ve really never thought about it.” But after pondering for a while he surmised, “I think it’s because, for the past two years, I’ve been surrounded by a group of people who have accepted me for who I am instead of trying to change me. They pointed out my strengths and encouraged me to use them, and I did.”

Joe really isn’t that different, is he? Tim Keller, pastor and contemporary Christian author wrote, “Man is in search of redemption.” (“Counterfeit Gods”). We all want to be wanted and accepted for who we are, don’t we? We’re all searching for a sense of worth and significance. Joe finally found it in the hearts of his friends.

Emotional and psychological insults, injuries and rejection, especially during our childhoods, can lead us to live with a vengeance, with a goal of vindicating and redeeming ourselves. But self vindication and redemption are only illusions, because as Jesus said, “No one is good but One, and that is God” (Matthew 19:17). So I ask you, where does that leave the rest of us, including me and you? It leaves us in need of a redeemer.

So if you’re tired of living with a vengeance, if you’ve been shouldering the impossible burden of self redemption, I encourage you to turn to the “The Redeemer.” The days you spend loving and following Him will be the happiest days of your life. Jesus invites us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 – 30)

Loren Hardin is a social worker for Southern Ohio Medical Center Hospice and can be reached by email at hardinl@somc.org.

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Straight Paths

Loren Hardin

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