Straight Paths

Carlos enrolled in our outpatient hospice services when he was 82 years old with end-stage lung cancer. Carlos was a retired New Boston steel mill supervisor where he worked in management for over 40 years. It was obvious that it was still in his blood because he gained momentum every time he talked about his job. One of Carlos’ last positions was transportation superintendent. His interest in heavy equipment surfaced at an early age.

Carlos reflected, "When I was two, I tried to lie down between the streetcar rails. I wanted the streetcar to run over me so I could see what was underneath it. It was fascinating to me! I still think there was enough clearance; it wouldn’t have crushed me!" 

Carlos’ situation was unique. His father, Harold, was one of my first hospice patients and his wife, Pearl, was my patient four years before Carlos could have ever imagined needing hospice for himself. It was when Pearl was on hospice that Carlos roped me into speaking about hospice at his New Boston Kiwanis club luncheon. But Carlos didn’t have to tug very hard to pull me in because I’ve always been thankful for the New Boston Kiwanis Club. You see, they sponsored our high school National Honor Society, The New Boston Little League and owned and managed the low-income apartments I lived in during my freshman year of college.

I was privileged to meet Carlos’ three daughters, and 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. It caught us by surprise. We had no idea she was going to jump. I turned around real fast just in time to catch her. Then Mom told me, ‘That’s the kind of faith that God wants us to have in Him, to trust Him to catch us.’"

Pearl’s divine insight reminds me of the song, "What If", by Nicole Nordeman: "What if you’re right? He was just another nice guy. What if you’re right? What if it’s true? They say the cross will only make a fool out of you … What if He takes His place in history with all the prophets and the kings who taught us love and came in peace, but then the story ends? What then … What if you pick apart the logic and begin to poke the holes? What if the crown of thorns is no more than folklore that must be told, and retold? But what if you’re wrong? What if there’s more? What if there’s hope 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? What if He’s more than enough? What if it’s love?"

Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-357-6091 or at lorenhardin53@gmail.com . You can order Loren's book, "Straight Paths: Insights for living from those who have finished the course", at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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