Rick's Return: I am thankful

This is the time of year we pause to give thanks. When I think about what I’m thankful for, God’s blessings are too numerous to count. When I left Clinton almost 20 years ago, I never could have imagined what God would have in store for my life. Heck, back then, I could hardly think beyond the next deadline or the next County Council meeting or the next Red Devil football game or other athletic event. I ate, drank and lived for the newspaper business. My buddy Larry Franklin has been in this business for more years than either one of us has interest in counting and he has truly made a difference for this community through this newspaper. But for me, I spent 20 years in the newspaper business and discovered at the ripe old age of 41 that God had a better plan for my life than the one I had chosen to live for. God helped me see that His plan for my life was greater than any byline or award, that living for Him was the path to the abundant life He promises in the pages of Scripture. But I was having so much fun, working long hours for little pay (no offense Larry), but having the time of my life. Or so I thought. My wife Joyce and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary this week – 18 years we’ve been together – and if I can say anything about my life partner, it is that she must have the patience of Job. Joyce didn’t like me very much when we first met, and as I look back now, probably for good reason. I mean, I was a likeable fellow, just didn’t have much time for anybody other than myself. And I liked myself, a lot, perhaps too much. Anyway, I digress. Our journey together has been amazing and as I’ve moved from the newspaper business to the dreaded public relations business to full-time ministry, Joyce has been with me every step of the way and supported me. But the most important thing that has changed about me over the years has been my heart. Jesus has taken that me-focused, newspaper driven, egotistical boy from a small town in North Carolina and turned him into a Christ-focused, Gospel driven, humble (I’m working on it) man who now calls Greenwood home. I get the honor and privilege of ministering every day to people and their families who are facing end of life issues. And I get to do that alongside an amazing team of professionals. But the only reason I get to do it is because that was part of God’s amazing plan for my life – to impact His kingdom with the message of hope. I surely don’t get it right all the time and I’m still learning, but faith in the Lord is unwavering and steadfast. I once lived a life full of drama and angst, but the Lord has transformed my life into one of contentment. I adore my wife, my kids and grandkids and I enjoy what I’m able to do now for a living, but most of all, I love the Lord. Paul wrote in Philippians 4: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we could all get to that place? Happy Thanksgiving! (Rick Hendricks is a former editor/writer for The Chronicle and now works as a Chaplain for Hospice Care of South Carolina in Greenwood.)

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