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 Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee Venture Hawks and Sheriff’s Department square off on Feb. 12 Cecil R Dupree Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week Star Wars costume exhibition coming to Museum Center

Jesus will meet you at the crossroads

Dick was 44 years old when admitted to Hospice for lung cancer. He was slender with long grey hair and a full grey beard. He looked like a cross between an old hippie and a mountain man. He was an independent contractor and like many small contractors, he survived from job to job, had little financial reserves, and no pension plan. Terminally ill, financially destitute and with “nowhere to live” he turned to his ex-wife, Jeannie, who being moved with compassion, took him in. Dick assured me, “We lived as brother and sister until we got remarried,” which was only three weeks before enrolling in hospice.

My career, my adventure in hospice, was launched in 1993 and Dick and Jeanne were two of my first clients. I vividly remember our first encounter. I accompanied their nurse, Dawn, on her routine visit. As we approached the door, apprehensions raced through my mind. Will they be open to talking with a social worker? What if we just don’t click? How do I explain my role without bringing up issues that they may not be ready to talk about? Having no idea what to expect, I took a deep breath and stepped across the threshold.

As expected, I encountered the unexpected. I surely didn’t expect to be kneeling at their coffee table, praying together and I definitely didn’t expect to be the one being prayed for. Neither did I expect to be so warmly and immediately embraced by two complete strangers. But we didn’t stay strangers for long. Our relationship reminds me of what Paul Tournier, Christian physician, wrote in his book, “A Listening Ear”- “The feeling that he is understood is what helps a person to live, to face any problem, however difficult, without being false to himself. It is a moment of truth, of confidence, of deep emotion, for him,but also for me. I have not understood only with my head, but with my heart. I too will never be the same again.”

The weeks passed and Dick’s condition deteriorated. He could no longer be home alone. Jeannie’s employer granted her time off without pay, but she couldn’t afford to take it, hence the dilemma. As we talked, the thought flashed in my mind, “Tell them that Jesus will meet them at the crossroads, that I’m already there before them.” (Before you start questioning my sanity, I didn’t hear voices.) My heart raced, and I trembled inside, “They’ll think I’m crazy! Is God really speaking? What if it’s just my imagination? What if I tell them and things don’t work out?”

I was afraid of misrepresenting God, and of giving Dick and Jeannie false hope. But the exhortation within me was so strong that I was more fearful of remaining silent, of being disobedient. So I told them, “I’ve never said anything like this to anyone before, but I really think God wants me to tell you that Jesus will meet you at the crossroads, that He’s already there before you.” I offered no explanations because I had none. All I left Dick and Jeannie with that day were tears in their eyes.

When I returned to my office that Friday afternoon, I felt prompted to call a few pastors to ask them if they’d be willing to take up a special offering on Sunday. On the following Monday, I collected $1,100 and delivered it to Dick and Jeannie. So Jeannie took off work for as long as the money would last.

If it weren’t for one simple miraculous detail, it would be reasonable for you to conclude that I made the promise come true. But you see, after Dick died, Jeannie told me, with tears in her eyes, “The amount of money that you gave me was exactly what I would have made from the time I took off work until the day that Dick died. No more and no less. How could anybody have known? ”

I don’t pretend to know how or why God works the way He does and I have no desire to try to duplicate what He did for Dick and Jeanie. To be honest, I’m more of a “Doubting Thomas” and I don’t like going out on a limb. But I do believe that whether or not we get what we pray for, He always meets us at the crossroads, that He’s already there.

“Be content with such things as you have. For He himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

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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Straight Paths

Loren Hardin

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2016 People's Defender