Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)
TITLE: A Sad Lady’s Surprise Reunion
By Daniel Kane
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The other lady turned to face her. She was an old woman, new in Bethlehem, and was hoping to find out something more about the town.
“Who?” the old lady asked.
“Marah. She’s just turning the corner beside Japheth’s place.”
“But I know that woman. I knew her from her childhood days! And as far as I know, she has no close relations living here.” The old woman looked perplexed.
“Oh, yes?” asked the other lady, eager for information. “What was she like then?”
“She was such a sweet little girl. Odd, though, that she goes by Marah. The name ‘bitter’ doesn’t at all suit her. She grew up in a good home here in Bethlehem. Her parents were neither poor nor rich. She made friends with everybody. She was such a sweetie that people felt they just had to be nice to her. When she grew up, she stayed out of trouble. After a time she was married. During the big famine she left with many others. She went to Moab. I also But there she fell into troubled times. Her husband died, and she was devastated. Then when her sons also died, she decided to leave. Her sons’ widows stayed behind, or so I was told. I remember seeing Orpah just before I left.”
“And what compelled you to visit Bethlehem?”
“Oh, I’m looking for someone. I heard she was living here.” The old woman suddenly stood up. “I must be off,” she announced. “I have pressing business elsewhere.” And with that the old woman marched off.
“What an odd lady,” the other woman mused. “Ah, well. I wonder what else is happening these days.”
In another part of the city, Marah opened the door to a large, well-kept house. “My daughter?” she asked, worried that perhaps the child was away. Ever since the girl had married, she had been out and about, making the house more homely. Some flowers here, a tapestry there. And since the birth of her first child, Marah’s daughter had become rather exhausted. It was only to be expected as little Obed was quite active, especially since learning to crawl. Apparently her poor daughter had to rise unusually early to sweep the floor, rather that risk the little boy putting the dead bugs and bits of corn into his mouth to test their taste. The chance of the child choking on something was a risk that her daughter was not going to take.
Marah chuckled. She remembered how troublesome her own children had been, and felt sorry for her daughter. Then Marah heard her daughter’s voice coming from the bedroom. “Yes, Mother?” Marah entered the room and saw her daughter nursing the baby. “How may I serve you?” the girl asked.
Marah couldn’t help but smile. “You ask me, my daughter? You have enough work to do. No, I just popped in to see how my grandson is. Are you finding him difficult to raise?”
“No mother. He’s quite fine, actually. In fact, he…” Her voice trailed off as a sharp knock resounded through the house. “Excuse me, mother, there’s somebody at the door.” Thus saying the young mother walked off to greet her guest.
A moment later she was back. “Mother, there’s someone to see you. Do you know of any Miriams?”
Marah looked shocked. “Miriam? How did she get here, dear? Did she tell you?”
“No, my mother. Should I let her in?”
“Yes, yes, of course! Send her in at once.” Marah straightened on her chair and looked expectantly toward the door. A moment later a woman entered. She was old, but Marah recognized her immediately. “Mother? Is it truly you?” she asked, as though unwilling to believe it.
“Of course Naomi! Or should I say, Marah? Whatever made you take such a horrible name? ‘Bitter’ doesn’t describe you!”
“I know! But at the time it seemed as though the Lord had abandoned me, made my life so bitter! Oh, Ruth, would you get some food? I think that my mother and I have some catching up to do.”
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