“Ruth replied to her, ‘I’ll do everything you are telling me . . .” (Ruth 3:5)
Once I thought differently about family.
Family was your parents and grandparents, siblings and second cousins; family was blood. It was where you were born. It was the accumulated generations of names, revered and scorned, all remembered when you gathered for the holy days. Family was place and time, us against them, common hopes and shameful failures, odd nicknames and secret recipes.
Until my daughter-in-law Ruth, I thought I knew what made a family real.
Call me Naomi, which in my language means “pleasant.” But I also call myself Mara, which means “bitter.”
“Do you have your medical insurance card with you?”
“Sorry, I left it at home,” I said.
The clerk at the desk told me, “No problem.” She said that my insurance company would simply bill me later.
“Left it at home” was true. Actually, completely forgetting my wallet while I was rushing out the door was even truer. I needed to have lab tests done in preparation for a general physical exam and chose a clinic based on how early it opened: 6:00 A.M. I wanted to get my testing completed as early as possible. After all, I had to fast overnight and there’s only so far I wanted to go into the day without coffee. Yup, Larry Patten, caffeine addict.
But I forgot my wallet. No insurance card. No driver’s license. All I had was my pleasant smile. Would they really take my blood without me being able to prove who I was? Continue reading →