200 years on the banks of the Ohio, in a little town called Moscow Edwin P Prince ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley Volleyball teams honor young cancer patient MHS honors veterans during pregame Kirker Covered Bridge gets a ‘Brown Goose’ facelift Adams County Heritage Days are Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Lady Devils prevail 1-0 over Peebles on Kickin’ Cancer Night Senior Profile: Patrick Baldwin Michael W Milby James R Grooms Sr. Fall Festival crowns Little Miss and Mister UPDATE: Pike County multiple murder Investigation; redacted autopsy reports released West Union Elementary names August Students of the Month SHAC streak continues for North Adams volleyball West Union volleyball picks up a pair of W’s Animal Shelter booth sees record crowds at Old Timer’s Day Festival Dragons top Manchester in Defender Bowl battle, 28-22 Senior Profile: Kendall Gallowitz Lady Dragons grab early lead in SHAC Tourney, final round is coming Friday Another Old Timer’s Days in the books and successful Run Gio Foundation to hold Oct. 1 benefit in Adams County Betty L Kelley Tom Cross, ACTVB Director, to receive ODNR Cardinal Award Seaman Fall Festival begins Wednesday, runs through Saturday Dragons still lead after two rounds of SHAC Golf, McCarty tops individual leader board Lady Dragons get SHAC win, downing Fayetteville 3-1 Overcoming obstacles, Pennywitt etches his name in MHS record books Dragons take first day lead in SHAC Golf Tourney New drug treatment offers more hope for recovering addicts Ronnie G Nace Lucille Wright Lois M Bixler Time to change those soccer rules Senior Profile: Hannah Grimes ‘Cruising up and down the main drag all night long’ Community effort erects town clock S Bridge to be replaced on Graces Run Road Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Lady Dragons break ACCC course record Dragons roll in county gridiron battle Down to last play, Hounds fall in heartbreaker I never won, but those lawn games were special times Donnie Austin Shari R Hiltibran Bentonville hosts 40th Annual Harvest Festival West Union soccer teams sweep Williamsburg, St. Patrick “Rockin” the mats again Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Sylvester Mefford Local teens selected to State 4-H Teen Leadership Council Connect with Serpent Mound over Old Timer’s Days Guthrie to speak about pests and diseases in beekeeping Old Timers Days Festival Cornhole Tournament is this week Defender Bowl coming Thursday Bentonville Harvest Festival holds Toddler Pageants 40th Anniversary Bentonville Harvest Festival hosts Baby Show 9/11 Reminds Us That We Are All Americans Lady Dragons are 2016 County Cup winners Bob Birchfield Senior Profile: Ryan Henderson Dragons take JV golf match Another rough night for Greyhounds, Notre Dame rolls to big win Remembering 9/11-15 years later Hughes honored at GABP Concussions and Youth Sports Roberta Newman to retire after more than 46 years at First State Bank Reaching out to the Baton Rouge flood victims Bentonville Harvest Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary Fire it up! Annual Jr. Fair BBQ cooks up another savory fare Lady Indians take down Whiteoak in four sets Senior Profile: Zack Best Greyhounds produce three winners at the 2016 Dragon Run Lady Hounds win in five sets at West Union Teresa Houdeshell Rosa Grooms Roy C Shiveley Mathew R Potts Staggs and Louiso to visit nation’s capital MLSD board members disagree on the merits of drug-testing students Law enforcement will target impaired drivers Labor Day weekend Figgins goal gives Devils a 1-0 win over West Union Lady Devils soccer rolls past West Union 9-1 Senior Profile: Madison Jenkins Boys golf season in full swing in county Winchester Homecoming Festival beats the heat and the storm I learned a lot from Rusty Verona McRoberts Lester Boldman Elsworth Cook Jr Harold L Applegate Governor Kasich honors Defender’s 150th anniversary ACRMC offers Language Interpretation Greyhounds stumble in opener, Green rushing attack leads to big win Notre Dame drops North Adams in straight sets SENIOR PROFILE: Gavin Baldwin Lady Dragons win Friday match at ACCC Juanita Lee Annual Junior Fair Beef BBQ is Thursday night Earl Jackson
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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