Flora Hilderbran Commissioners to meet with DP&L officials New state graduation requirements called a ‘train wreck’ Catching up with Keller Senior Profile: Justin Knechtly Piketon size is too much for Lady Indians, Peebles falls in sectional finals Greyhounds grab Senior Night win Indians finish regular season riding six-game winning streak Harper, Hupp, Defense lead Lady Devils to fourth consecutive sectional championship West Union Elementary recognizes Students of the Month for January Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Coal company files to intervene in power plant closings Senior Profile: Jessica Sowards Senior Profile: Dennis Welch Dorothy E Walls Mabel Chamblin Michael R Jones Marie I Simmons Ray Johnson One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic

What if you decide to jump?

Carlos was a devoted Kiwanis Club member and a retired supervisor from the New Boston steel mill. He was admitted to hospice for lung cancer at the age of 82. Four years earlier, before Carlos could have ever imagined needing hospice for himself, he roped me into speaking about hospice at his New Boston Kiwanis club luncheon. He didn’t have to tug very hard because I’ve always been thankful for the New Boston Kiwanis Club. You see, they sponsored our high school National Honor Society and managed the low-income apartments where I lived for about a year while attending Ohio University – Portsmouth Branch.

I was 19 years old when Harold, the Kiwanis Apartments manager, taught me some painfully valuable lessons about “choices and consequences.” It was around dusk when I heard a hard, sharp repetitive knock on my apartment door, apartment L-2. I opened the door and there stood Harold, a large rough-hewned middle-aged man who informed me, “You’re evicted. And I want you out of here right now!” I defiantly, and overly confidently, responded, “I’m not leaving. You can’t make me. I know my rights.” Well, later that evening Harold was back at my door, but this time accompanied by a New Boston police officer. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, so I moved out the next day. And in the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

Over 30 years later, when Carlos enrolled in hospice, I was privileged to meet his daughters. When his daughter, Vicki, shared the following story with me, I knew I had to pass it on. Vicki recounted, “It was about 14 years ago, back when mom just got saved and was studying the Bible a lot. Mom had only been a Christian for about a year. She and Dad got saved at the same time. When my granddaughter, Kelsey, was about a year old Mom and I were in the back yard watching the kids play. We were standing by the back porch.” Carlos interjected, “I built that porch for Pearl.” Vicki continued, “Mom and I were talking and all at once Kelsey jumped off the porch towards me. I turned around real fast just in time to catch her. Mom said, ‘That’s the kind of faith that God wants us to have in Him, to trust Him to catch us.’”

Pearl’s insight reminds me of a song by Nichole Nordeman titled, “What If.” “What if you’re right and He’s just another nice guy? What if it’s tru,; they say the cross will only make a fool out of you. What if the crown of thorns is no more than a folklore that must be told and retold? But what if you’re wrong,what if there’s more? What if there’s hope that you’ve never dreamed of hoping for? What if you jump, just close your eyes? What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?’”

My eviction from the Kiwanis apartments was one in a series of events that led me to the edge of a cliff. I vividly remember saying to myself at age 16, “I’ll never trust or need anyone ever again. I’ll show them what I can do on my own.” From that point on I lived with a vengeance. I was defiantly independent but desperately lonely. It was at that critical pivotal point in my life that a compassionate friend simply told me, “Loren, Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life. I wish you had what I have.” And so did I. I didn’t know how or where to get it, but I was determined to find it. So I started searching.

I bought a paperback “Parallel New Testament” at Glad Tidings Book Store and started reading. I read from midnight to five o’clock in the morning, but nothing. I prayed, “God what do you expect from me? What do you want me to do?” I continued reading, but still nothing. I cried out in desperation, “God I can’t do it. If I’m gonna be saved, you’re gonna have to do it for me. But still nothing.

I decided to give God one more chance and I opened the Bible and read, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”(Matthew 7:7-9). I thought, “Surely it can’t be that easy. Surely I have to do more than just ask?” Then I prayed, “God, either this is true or you are a liar. And if it’s true, then it’s true for me. So I’m taking you at your word. I’m asking.” That night I “jumped” and the arms that caught me, caught me by surprise.

What about you? Are you on the edge? Are you tired of living with a vengeance? What if you decide to jump?

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

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Loren Hardin

Straight Paths

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2016 People's Defender