On my second to last day on the job, I came upon Ms. Ruby* who was anxiously trying to get 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 with her no-nonsense look, she 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 on 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. Surprisingly she accepted my offer to read to her and settled back onto the bed. Holding her hand in mine until she relaxed, I marvelled that her dark skin was soft like that of a newborn. Strange that after twelve years, I was just now seeing the “softer” side to this centenarian, I thought.
“How about a Psalm, Ms. Ruby; Psalm twenty-seven?”
“Ah, yes,” she smiled at the ceiling.
I began to read and was instant moved as Ms. Ruby began reciting the psalm along with me practically word for word. When we got to the forth verse I was in tears. I struggled to continue, but with a strong voice she 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!” A wide grin spread across her face as her unseeing eyes gazed towards the heavens.
I was finally able to rejoin the recitation and I couldn’t help but think that God had planned this grand finale Himself. One of my favorite psalms, steeped in promises of God’s goodness and faithfulness, recited by a woman who like the author, was someone after God’s own heart and who would no doubt finish well as the author had.