A voice from the past returns

This column could be called a homecoming, of sorts. Any of you who have been loyal readers of The Chronicle for the last, oh, three decades or so, might remember my near 10-year stint with the newspaper. Others of you might be saying, “Who is this guy?” For the record, I served as sports editor, staff writer and editor at The Chronicle during the better part of the 1990s. I treasure the memories of my time here and remember the wonderful people I encountered here -- some of whom I have reconnected with through the years by the miracle of Facebook. I would not have expected that my writing would again appear in the pages of The Chronicle for the simple reason that, as they say, I thought “that ship had sailed.” But God has been doing some amazing things in my life during the past 15 years and I have not anticipated most (read “all”) of them. Larry’s invitation to write for The Chronicle as a columnist was entirely unexpected. I’m not sure about his motivation, other than desiring to fill space on the editorial page, and I’m not really sure that it matters. Larry’s instructions were familiar, simple and to the point: “Try not to get me sued.” Whatever his motivation, I’m back and more than willing to crank out this monthly writing gig. What I hope to accomplish by writing this column once a month, I’m not really sure about that either. But I’ve not only become a believer in things of God, but also that God is completely in control. When He drew me to Himself some 15 years ago, it was all part of His grand plan. When He led Joyce and I to lead a ministry to inner city kids for 12 years, it was all part of the plan. And when He led me to hospice chaplaincy, He was not surprised. As I write today, I recognize that God may have something He’s going to do with this column that doesn’t have anything to do with me. Part of God’s grand plan has been to humble me before Him. And anyone who knew me back in the day knows that I needed a dose of humility. Just ask my wife. When we left Clinton, I fully anticipated that I would continue to be in the newspaper business for the rest of my working life. But that was not part of God’s grand plan. But it wasn’t so much the change in vocation that has been so amazing during my journey with Jesus, albeit that has been unexpected to say the least. The things that have changed about me have to do with my heart. God took this egotistical, self-centered man and turned him into someone else, someone new, someone who is completely surrendered to Jesus. That transformation has changed the way I look at things -- my priorities are different, my attitude is different, my very being is different. And the best part is, I can’t take credit for any of it, and wouldn’t if I could. I’m at the point in my life now that I can look back on what’s gone before and see God’s hand in it. In the coming months, I hope to take a few walks down memory lane. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make you laugh a little. Maybe we’ll make a few memories of our own along the way. Thanks, Larry, for having me back. (Rick Hendricks is a former editor of The Chronicle and is now a chaplain with Hospice Care of South Carolina’s office in Greenwood. You can reach him by e-mail at newsguy351@yahoo.com.)

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