Stepping off the bus into the night, Ruth heard people yelling. As she stretched her neck to see past the men in front of her, she saw that two women, most likely in their early twenties, were arguing. As she walked with her son across the street towards the women, Ruth’s heart sank as one of the women pushed the other to the ground.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” The smaller woman screamed as she struggled to stand. Her t-shirt was ripped, and her long brown hair was dirty and mussed.
An older man tried to stop the fight, but he was ignored as if he was not even there. He held out his arms to separate the women, but the tough one shoved a fist in his face and told him to get lost. Ruth had been holding her breath, hoping the man would end the fight, and was disappointed when he turned and walked away.
“Why are they fighting, Mom?” Robbie asked.
From what Ruth had heard spewing from the tough woman’s mouth, it had to do with her boyfriend. “It seems that one is jealous.”
People were walking every which way, as if they didn't notice that a fight was happening right in front of them. Ruth was baffled that at the corner of a major intersection, not even a car stopped to help. Crossing the street once again, she hoped that someone would quickly call the police.
The screams became louder, and Ruth saw the tough woman chasing the other across to her side of the street and onto the sidewalk. She then pushed her; knocking her back into the street in front of a bus that was just starting to go forward on a green light. The woman quickly jumped up onto the sidewalk, but as soon as she got her footing, the tough one punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. Ruth’s heart ached as she watched the woman crawl to a patch of grass, only to get kicked in the side again and again.
“Blessed are the peacemakers…”
Ruth stopped. Those words… they came to her mind as if spoken to her. She had left Christianity years before so she was surprised to hear the words of Jesus Christ; and not only that, she felt as if she was being told to stop the women from fighting. She began to shake. The women were standing now, but the tough one held the other by the collar of her shirt, while screaming into her face. Ruth did not have the confidence or strength to approach them… never mind tell them what to do. Taking Robbie’s hand, she walked away.
She felt the nudge. No… she couldn't. It got stronger and stronger, and then Ruth knew that she couldn't avoid it anymore. Bending down, she told Robbie that she had to at least try to stop the fight.
“No, Mommy. You can’t… you’ll get hurt.”
“I will be fine. Now stay here and don’t move.” Ruth had to act brave for her son’s sake, but inside she was shaking like a leaf, and she could barely feel her legs.
“MOMMY! Don’t go… please.” Tears ran down Robbie’s face, and he followed Ruth despite being told to stay back.
Ruth approached the women, “Can you please stop fighting?”
The tough woman looked at her as if she were crazy, then turned and looked at Robbie. “Tell your kid to leave.”
Shaking her head, Ruth told the women that she was afraid one of them would get hurt. After a few words, she managed to convince the tough one that it was in her best interest to leave, as their situation could not possibly end well otherwise. A few minutes passed, and both women walked away in separate directions as Ruth let out a sigh of relief.
Ruth hugged Robbie as tight as she could, and once again she heard the words. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (NIV)
For the past ten years, Ruth had been estranged from God and believed that he had forgotten about her. But tonight, he had chosen to work through her… and had called her his child. Her heart raced with excitement as she prayed right there on the sidewalk… she was home.
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