The Letter From God

Ruth looked at the envelope once again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address on it. She read the letter to herself one more time.

Dear Ruth, I'm going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I'd like to stop by for a visit. Love Always, God.

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. "Why would God want to visit me? I'm nobody special. I don't have anything to offer."

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. "Oh my goodness, I *really* don't have anything to offer! I will have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner at once!" She reached for her purse and poured out its contents. Five dollars and forty three cents. "Well, I could buy some bread and some cold cuts, at least."

She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of french bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk... leaving Ruth with twelve cents left over until next Monday. None- the-less, she felt better as she headed home from the store, her meager offerings tucked under her arm.

"Hey lady, can you help us, lady?", came a shy voice from a nearby alleyway. Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled together in the cold and dirty alleyway she was just passing by.

A man and woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags stared in her direction... "Look lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we'd really appreciate it. Please lady."

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, the alleyway smelled of garbage, and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.

"Sir, I'd like to help you out, but I am a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread which I was planning on serving because I'm having an important guest for dinner tonight. "Yeah, well, OK lady, I understand. Thanks anyway." The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. "Sir, wait!" The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. "Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest." She handed the man her grocery bag. "Thank you lady. Thank you very much!" "Yes, thank you!", the man's wife murmured slowly. Ruth could see now that she was shivering uncontrollably. "You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this one."

Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders. Then, smiling warmly, she turned and walked back to the street without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest that afternoon. "Thank you lady! Thank you very much!", said the man, holding back a tear. Ruth was chilled to the bone by the time she reached her front door, and was worried too. God was coming to visit her and she had nothing to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key.

But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox. "That's odd.", she said to herself, "The mailman doesn't usually come twice in one day." She took the envelope out of her mailbox and opened it.

Dear Ruth, It was so good to see you again. Thank you for offering me the lovely meal that you did. And thank you also, for compassionately giving me the beautiful coat that you did. Love Always, God.

Warm tears trickled down Ruth's cold cheeks as she realized what had just happened. There are times during the hustle and bustle of the holidays we forget there are others without and the true meaning of what it is to give of ourselves. And, to remember that God is in ALL of us! Here's wishing you and yours a truly Joyous Holiday Season!

© 1997 Robin L. Olson, Robin's Web, All Rights Reserved.