On my second to last day on the job, I came upon Ms. Ruby* who was anxiously trying to climb out of her wheelchair. In the twelve years I had worked in this place, I can honestly say I had never had a conversation with her. She was going to be 104 on her next birthday and I assumed her secret to longevity was simply staying away from people-she was not a talker and had an ability to send people from her room faster than a bullet leaving a gun.
“What is it Ms. Ruby; what do you need?” I asked. “My bed. I’m tired.” I gently placed her tiny frame onto her bed and helped her to lay down, yet she remained anxious, again trying to get up. “I need to read a chapter. Get me my book, I gotta read a chapter.” I reached for the only book on her table, her Bible. Milky white cataracts had replaced Ms. Ruby’s once sharp eyes, and I knew she couldn’t read it herself. I offered to read for her and to my surprise, she agreed, settling back onto the bed. I held her hand in mine until she relaxed. Her dark skin was soft like that of a newborn and she relaxed into the mattress as softly, I caressed the back of her hands. “How about a Psalm, Ms. Ruby?” “Ah, yes,” she smiled at the ceiling. I began reading and then Ms. Ruby began reciting the psalm along with me almost word for word. When we got to the forth verse I was in tears. Moved by witnessing this side of Ms. Ruby and her love and passion for the Word, I struggled to continue. But with a strong voice Ms. Ruby continued from memory:
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life , to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple.”
” Oh yes, Lawd!” With a toothless grin, she smiled towards the heavens. I was finally able to rejoin in the recitation and I couldn’t help but think that God had planned this grand finale Himself; sweet words from King David spoken by a woman who would no doubt finish well as the author had.
Yes and Amen.
*Ms Ruby’s name was changed to protect her privacy.