Ruth’s Visitor

Ruth was in the garden having a cup of tea. It was a beautiful day. Summer was drawing to a close and soon the cold weather would be there. She wished the warm weather would last. She dreaded having to put on winter coat, scarf, hat, gloves and boots. She hated the snow when it got sloshy and driving in the winter could be a nightmare at times. If only she could live somewhere tropical where winter didn’t exist.

Perhaps, she could see if Gideon would want to move to a place like that when he retired. She couldn’t imagine him retiring any time soon, though. Still, it was worth mentioning the idea of moving to a warm country in the future.

She was so deep in thought that she didn’t notice a tall figure approaching her until he called out, “Hello Aunt Ingrid.”

She turned. It was Gideon’s nephew, Nigel. A big smile broke out on her face. “Hello, Nigel. Come and sit down. It’s so good to see you.”

He went over to her and after kissing her on the cheek, he sat down opposite her. “You look great.”

“You look great. I hope I can persuade you to stay for lunch. It has been ages since we last saw you. How have you been?”

“I’m sorry I haven’t been to visit in a while. I’ve been busy.”

“Busy doing what? Chasing after girls although as I recall, they did most of the chasing.”

He chuckled. “No, it isn’t my love life which has been keeping me busy. I’ve been busy with work and mission trips.”

“Mission trips?”

“Yes, for the past few years, I’ve been going on mission trips.”

“Where have you been?”

“I’ve been to Africa, Asia, South and Central America and the Middle East.”

“Wow. How exciting. What sort of things do you do on these mission trips?”

“Well, I’ve been on both religious and non religious mission trips. On the religious ones I participated in church services, community prayers and talking about religion with the locals. On the non religious trips, I helped to build houses and schools in rural areas, sports coaching and taking care of the elderly in need.”

“That’s wonderful. Which of those places you mentioned did you like the most?”

“Africa, because of the people and the natural beauty of the place in spite of the poverty. I plan to go there again next year.”

“How long you spend in these places?”

“A month because of my job. One of these days, I would like to take a sabbatical leave and spend at least six months in Africa.”

“I wonder if Chelsey would be interested in mission trips. It would do her good to see how others live and to help the least fortunate.”

“Speaking of Chelsey, is she here?”

“No. She’s in France with your uncle. They will be back in two weeks.”

“She must have graduated from school by now.”

“Yes. She’s starting her first year at Oxford next month.”

“How old is she now?”

“Nineteen.”

“Is she dating anyone?”

Ruth shook her head. “No.”

“I’m surprised to hear that. She’s such a stunning girl.”

“Careful now. Make sure you don’t call her a girl to her face.”

“I suppose now that she’s nineteen, she thinks she’s a woman.”

“She does and don’t try to tell her otherwise. What about you, are you dating?”

“No. I’m currently single. How come you didn’t go to France with Uncle Gideon and Chelsey?”

“I thought a father daughter trip would be nice for them.”

“So, what will you do with yourself while they’re away?”

Ruth shrugged. “I’ll keep myself busy. I can read, do some gardening although Gideon’s the better gardener.”

“Well, if you feel lonesome and want company, give me a call and I’ll be right over. we can hang out here or go into the city for a bite or for a drive in the countryside. Whatever you want to do, I’m at your disposal.”

She smiled and patted his hand. “You’re such a sweetheart. The girl who ends up with you will be very lucky.”

“Do you know that I always thought that Uncle Gideon was lucky to end up with you? I hope I don’t embarrass you by telling you that I was infatuated with you.”

“I’m not easily embarrassed and I’m flattered that you were once infatuated with me.”

“That’s one of the things I really like about you. I can be frank and say what’s on my mind to you and you don’t get offended. I can’t do that with my mother.”

“When it comes to their sons, mothers are very particular. They don’t want their boys to grow up and be men. I always said that if I had a son, I wouldn’t smother him because I’ve seen too many men have commitment phobia because of their mothers. My mother wasn’t like that, though. She was loving, easygoing and we adored her. My father used to say that she was the virtuous woman mentioned in the book of Proverbs. She was the kind of Christian who didn’t force her beliefs on others but simply shared her faith with them if they were interested. She loved helping people. I think if she were alive, she would go on mission trips.”

“It must have been hard for the family when she died.”

“Yes, it was, especially for my father. He took to drinking and if it weren’t for my brother intervening, he probably would have died from a heart attack or alcohol poisoning. His brother got him to get off the liquor, encouraged him to get help and went with him to counselling sessions. My father never touched alcohol again.”

“How old were you when your mother died?”

“I was eighteen and my brother, Ross was twenty.”

“Your mother’s death really hit your father hard for him to take to the bottle.”

“Yes, it did but I think he took to drinking because he felt guilty.”

“Guilty about what?”

“Guilty about the way he treated my mother. He cheated on her although she loved and took care of him and us. I can see why he called her the virtuous woman. She was truly a good wife. Her children stood up and blessed her and so did her husband. My father said to her, ‘There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!’ And yet, he cheated on her. She knew about it because I used to hear her praying every night for him, that God would have mercy on his soul. It broke her heart and I think that’s what may have contributed to her death. For a long time, I was angry with him and didn’t have much to do with him. Then, when Chelsey was born, he came to the hospital and when I saw the way he was holding her, my resentment for him died. I saw the father I adored when I was a little girl.”

“So, how is he now?”

“He’s fine. Married again and living in a flat in Watford.”

“Do you get along with your step-mother?”

“Yes. She’s a Christian like my mother.”

“Do you visit them often?”

“Not as often as I should even though Watford is just 20 minutes from London.”

“Now that you’re on your own, why don’t you visit them over the weekend or invite them to spend the weekend here with you?”

“That’s a good idea. I wish I had thought of that. I’ll ring them later and ask them about the weekend.”

“I’m happy that you forgave your father. People make terrible mistakes which haunt them for the rest of their lives but if they are truly sorry for what they have done, they should be forgiven and not made to continue paying for those mistakes.”

Ruth thought about what he said. She had harbored bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart for her father for years after her mother died and yet, years later, she ended up doing the same thing as he–she cheated on both of her husbands. Her excuse was unlike her father who didn’t love the woman he cheated on her mother with, she, Ruth was in love with Dushan. And if he had left his wife, she would have left Chelsey’s father for him in a heartbeat but he didn’t, so she remained in her marriage as they continued their affair. After his wife divorced him, she waited again for Dushan to ask her to leave Gideon but he didn’t. And, then he ended their affair after meeting the woman who was now his second wife. If only things could have turned out differently.

“What’s the matter, Aunt Ruth?” Nigel asked.

“Nothing. Let’s have lunch now. We can have it out here.”

Sources: Help Guide; Volunteer Forever; My London

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