Monday, May 3, 2010

Ruth

This week I will be celebrating mothers. Some of writing you will recognize from past blogs or from my Neff Road blog. This week is dedicated to my mother, my sisters, my family and all women who make a difference. This writing is especially dear to me.

The woman lived almost her entire 88 years on the same square mile of land on Neff Road in Darke County, Ohio, yet she touched more lives than we can ever know. Her mission was the life she led.

No one was ever a stranger in our home. No one ever wanted for a meal or a bed. She took in homeless youth and gave them a family, gave temporary shelter to kids in trouble and babysat for anyone who ever asked never saying ‘no’ to any request. The house was never locked. And, many a morning we would wake to find someone who had come in during the night sleeping in our guest room.

The church was her life. She was choir director, custodian, pianist, Sunday School teacher, on every committee. All were her students learning love, compassion and humor. Her reach was far and results followed her generation after generation.

Waking before the sun and throughout the day, she cooked meals for a dozen hungry farm hands never once using a cookbook. She killed chickens, made soap, canned food, planted crops and raised three babies never once considering there was something she couldn’t do or even something else she might want to do.

Ruth fought for children’s rights before anyone admitted they them. She was colorblind to the shades of humanity. Never did she know a stranger and opened her house to exchange students, travelers, cousins ten times removed.

As a child she tagged along with her sister who dated a notorious gangster and fell in love at nine with her future husband. She buried her parents, her three siblings and her sweet husband.

Always she had a song on her lips and in her heart. Into her later years, she would sit crocheting with aching hands and continued to play the piano like a ragtime pro. Loving and loved she influenced the women her daughters would become.

At the end she lived in a world growing more silent as her hearing failed. She was frail and tiny in her last days yet her song still remained. She was bright and had the handwriting of her twenties. With a loving heart she continued to question the narrow-mindedness of mankind.

What a lovely sight to behold, this mother of mine. She gave me a mission in life. No, she gave me a way of life: One, to change it for the better. I had a good example. I think I’ll pass it on.

1 comment:

  1. I'm always filled with humility when I think about our mothers and grandmothers. What struggles they went through just to do the laundry or cook a meal! The difficulty of their lives turned some of them sad or bitter. How wonderful to have had a mother who lived a difficult life but was still filled with music and love. I love that her door was always open. Today we are so fearful and paranoid that I'm afraid we turn away "angels unaware."

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