Sunday, June 2, 2013

Miss Ruth

Mile log: 557

"If you cain't fly, you just may as well stay home." - Miss Ruth

Granted, the quote above was in the context of traveling the world, but if you knew Miss Ruth, you may question whether she meant "flying" in the Peter Pan sense, rather than the airline sense. There she was, rocking on her old wooden porch swing with its mint green paint and bright yellow flower cushions... she wore a bright pink shirt with a turquoise jacket and flower-print skirt, and had her colored-blonde hair bobby-pinned to the sides, away from her face... that face that was so animated and joyful, with bright pink lipstick and a few sunspots, probably evidence of her many years as a young woman growing up on the Carolina beaches. She casually fiddled with the wooden cane at her side, like it was more of a bother than a necessary help to her; she would pound it on the ground for emphasis and wave the end of it in all directions, as though she were conducting the telling of her own life stories.

I met Miss Ruth last month at the park, when I had taken my notebook and a pen to sit at the pond and be alone and think. She struck up a conversation with me, telling me that she belonged to Jesus, and asking me how I know that I do too, and inviting me to her house to go swimming in her pool. I found out she is 91 years old, born and raised in the South, and has lived in her current house in the neighborhood for the past 50 years. When I went to visit her house for the first time, I was amazed that she has a very nice 10-foot in-ground pool with a slide and a diving board, plus an acre of fenced-in land, a game room, and a huge patio for playing games, having cook-outs, and swinging on her bench swing. She loves to have people at her house, and has loved that for years and years, and is at her very best when she is hosting people. She loves the Lord, international people, disabled people, elderly people, and the community in general. She is a true kindred spirit, and an answer to prayers, and I am amazed.

Today was my second visit at Miss Ruth's house. When I called and asked if I could come over, she said, "Oh Connie! You wouldn't believe it, God has been so busy around here!" I took her roses and she gave me a cookie, and we sat in the shade and she told me story after story of her amazing life. She and her late husband traveled the world, and when I asked her what her favorite place was that she visited, and she said, "Oh honey, I would go back to Carolina over any of the rest!" Whenever "Carolina" comes up in our talks, her southern-belle accent gets stronger.

Before we left, she stood and stamped her cane and said, "I don't know why I am still here. Sometimes I ask God, 'God, what in the world are you doing?'" It amazed me, to look at this tiny, spunky old woman, who has this huge beautiful property that she is using for community ministry... and she doesn't know why she is still here?! God's working through her, and she just keeps following and obeying him - abiding in him - and he is producing much fruit through her.

Expect to hear more Miss Ruth stories as the summer progresses. :)

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