She was in her hospital bed. I was looking through the window. And we were talking on the phone. That’s what happens with precautions these days.
She wanted to have a visit from a chaplain. Her body isn’t doing well, and won’t get better.
We talked for a bit. And then I asked her who her favorite Bible person was.
She thought for a bit, reviewed where she had learned stories, and then said, “Ruth. That’s a person who always stood out as having a good story.”
I agreed and reviewed a bit of her story. She was from another country, and followed her mother-in-law back to Israel. “She was an immigrant,” I said. “And I’m guessing that she wasn’t very well accepted.”
I thought about the story, about Naomi feeling like an outcast, feeling bitter about life. I thought about Ruth, not sure how much language she knew. She ended up gleaning from the harvested field, picking up what grain hadn’t been harvested by workers who had known famine in recent years.
(That’s why Naomi and her family had left in the first place, because of a famine.)
Boaz’s instructions to leave extra in the field, and to have Ruth eat with his workers for her safety, suggest that the life of outsiders was dangerous in many ways.
“But Ruth was King David’s great-grandmother,” I said to the patient on the phone. “She was part of the story of Jesus.”
“I always liked Ruth,” she said. “I wouldn’t have remembered all those things, but I knew she was special.”
I prayed for her.
And I acknowledged to myself that I hadn’t remembered those things until I talked about them, until I started conversing with the patient in the bed.
And that’s why, after 3000 posts, we’re moving on to 3001. Because we need to keep thinking about the stories, remembering our favorites, listening for what we missed before.
And grateful that this woman, for some reason, found courage in Ruth’s story.