Care plans change lives and change history. They change the narrative of who we are and how we will be remembered. Boaz in the book of Ruth, goes to the city gate and performs a legal action transferring the ownership of Ruth, her mother-in-law and all their property into his hands to care for. Boaz declares in-front of the elders, “You are witnesses…I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records.” Boaz changes history. We remember his name, not the other man’s.
My husband and I stood before a judge of the high court of Kenya who pounded her gavel and said, “From this day forward this child will be known as ….” Reality changed. The two little tots were no long “orphans” but were ours, part of our clan, gaining four brothers and a sister. For better or worse, their lives would never be the same. But what was our motive? Did we need more children to work a farm? No. Were we childless and needed someone to inherit our meager wealth? No. Were we doing a good deed to get into heaven? No. Our hearts and our lives had grown together with these two little tykes and we wanted to share our future with them. Boaz, we believe, did not need children. He states his purpose as preserving the name and history of Naomi and Ruth’s family. Their name will not disappear. We are witnesses.
This first half of Chapter 4 challenges me to look at my motives in the care plans I am involved with, the people I care about. I reluctantly admit that some care is out of duty, some care gives me a good name, and some care hopefully is grounded in concern for the future of the other and our world. Thanksgiving comes this week and news is so clear that not gathering in large family groups is the care plan that will slow down the virus. I feel the tension. These are hard decisions. Creative alternatives like zooming are being employed. I know my cell phone will be busy. As we seek ways to live out our love for each other, history is changed and hearts are impacted. May we join Boaz in saying, “you are my witness today. I care …friend, family, child, spouse.” God help me!