Straight Paths

This is part five of a series about Carolyn who was admitted to hospice with Parkinson's disease. Carolyn’s husband, Charlie, was on a roll the day he declared, “Love is blind, but marriage sure is an eye opener”, and, “A fellow has to be careful because puppy love can lead to a dog’s life.” Then Charlie fondly smiled at Carolyn and said, “I’m just kidding; I’ve had the best wife a man could ever ask for.” You could tell Charlie realized and meant it.

But don’t feel too sorry for Carolyn, for she is definitely a worthy opponent in a match of wits. She stated, “When Charlie would come home from work he would say, ‘I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?’ And I would tell him, ‘Just go in the bathroom and look in the mirror and you’ll get fed up real fast’”. Carolyn’s delightful grin after a touché remark reminds me of Mr. Roper from the TV show “Three’s Company” (1977 – 1984). Search “Mr. Roper” on YouTube, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about; and you’ll have a good laugh to boot.

Charlie reflected, “I was born into this world with nothing and I have it all left. But God has blessed and enabled Carolyn and I to help a lot of people along the way. If we had all the money back that we’ve given away we would be living in a much better house. But I’ve preached a lot of funerals in my time, and I’ve never seen a hearse followed by a U-Haul or a Brinks armored truck. And the last time I checked, the mortality rate is still 100%. “

I told Amy, Carolyn and Charlie’s daughter, “Every time I visit your mom and dad I feel like I’ve been to church,” and Amy replied, “Dad will take you to church whether you want to go or not”. Charlie suggested, “You can tell what a person cares about by what they talk about the most.” Jesus said it this way, “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matt 6:21)

Charlie’s reflections remind me of the song written by my son-in-law, Shane, titled, “You can’t take it with you”: “I’m living my life like an old passerby in a hotel … I can rub a couple nickels, but there ain’t much in the middle and I don’t mind. Well, you’ve just got to consider that’s just less you have to litter; when you check out you have to leave it all behind. I live the kind of living I can live the best today; I’d rather have a story than some coin in the bank. Get it while I got it, cut it lose because I know, you can’t take it with you when you go.” (YouTube, Shane Runion, “You can’t take it with you”)

Jim Elliott (1927-1956) was one of five missionaries martyred while attempting to evangelize the Huaorani Indians of Ecuador. Some of you may have seen and remember the movie about their lives and mission titled, “The End of the Spear”. Jim Elliot kept a journal, jotting down what came to mind as he fixed his eyes on God. On October 28, 1949, he wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose”. Little did he know, seven years later that it would be his very life he would give.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for your selves’ treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal…” (Matt 6:19 – 21). “….godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1Timothy 6: 6-7) We can’t take it with us when we go.

Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-357-6091 or at . 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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