Peebles Elementary hosts PBIS showcase NAES student starting Christmas Card project Try and tell them that nobody cares Senior Profile: Ethan Thompson 15-point lead vanishes, Hounds fall in season opener Deer Gun Season results down all across Ohio Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES
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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