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 Adams 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 emotions of a senior year Market Hog Clinic scheduled for March 4 Venture Hawks fall to Scioto County Senior Profile : Colton Thornburg Lady Dragons’ season ends with sectional loss to Lynchburg Devils advance in tourney with convincing win over West Union, will face Portsmouth for sectional title Wenstrup selected as Vice Chairman of House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee Adams County 4-H Shooting Sports to hold fund raiser Linda M Howland Nellie B Hayslip Russell E Bailey Gladys M Perdue Commissioners meet in Columbus with DP&L CEO Tom Raga Missing the Dirtrollers The farms that aren’t forgotten 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

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