I wasn't always alone, but in the end…I think it may have been better. This was the way it had to be. Now that I'm alone, I can start all over again. I don't have to worry about anything else getting in my way. I can focus on what matters most. After that…everything will fall into place. The probably sounds silly to most of you. You're wondering: what the heck is this nut talking about? I'm talking about life. I'm talking about hope. I'm talking about love. I'm talking about faith.
I was nineteen years old when I ended up alone. It was the only thing I could do. I had graduated high school, but just barely. It wasn't that I'm not smart. There are always other factors involved. It had been a year and a half since graduation. I was sick. I was sick of everything. I just wanted oblivion. I craved it beyond anything else. It was the one thing that was denied me most. No matter how drunk or how high I got, I could always remember, always feel. Finally, I just added pain to pain. I took a razor to my arm. I had hoped it would dull the emotions that always fought inside me. Instead, I couldn't stop cutting. I couldn't stop bleeding.
I wandered around in the snow with blood running down my hands. When I finally collapsed, I found oblivion. It was what I had been searching for. It was what I had thought that I needed. I had been wrong. The oblivion didn't complete me. It seemed to throw everything in sharp relief. I hated that feeling. I fought against the oblivion. It gave way after an eternity. I woke up in a white room. I was warm, truly warm, for the first time in ages. I was in a hospital. I had collapsed in front of a church just as Wednesday evening service was ending. The doctors and nurses in attendance at the church had cared for me until an ambulance had arrived.
I looked around the room to see flowers and cards and balloons. I had seen this kind of thing on movies and television shows. These couldn't be for me. They had to be for someone else. But there was no one else in the room. There was no other bed in the room. Just chairs. These presents were for me. The door opened and a smiling man and woman walked in. "We're glad to see that you're awake," the man said. "My name's Marshall Dudrey. I'm one of the doctors who have been taking care of you. This is my wife Shelby."
"Hello young lady. We've all been very worried about you, you know." The woman Shelby said coming and sitting in one of the chairs next to my hospital bed. She took my hand in hers and looked at me with love. "We were afraid that you weren't going to make it there for a while."
"Where am I? How long has it been?" I asked. My voice was a crackling whisper. How long had it been since I had last spoken.
"You're at St. Joseph's Hospital," Marshall said. "You've been unconscious for the past week."
Fear jolted through me making me sit bolt upright. It was too quick. My body couldn't handle such movement yet and I fell back. "No so fast darling," Shelby said smoothing back my hair. "You have to be careful. You lost a lot of blood and they had to give you a transfusion. We were all so happy when you're body didn't reject the operation."
"Who's we?" I demanded. There were only two people here. Who else could care? Why did they even care? Wasn't I worthless? That's what I'd always been told at least.
"Our whole church," Shelby told me. I looked at her puzzled. They didn't even know me. "When we all found you out there bleeding in the snow. We were all so concerned. We've been working together. Someone's always been here with you. All these cards and flowers and gifts are from different members of the congregation. In fact, they took up a collection this last Sunday to pay for your hospital bill."
"Why?" I demanded almost furious. "Why? What do y'all care about me? I'm worthless. I was trying to find oblivion. I'm not even good enough for that! What does it matter what happens to me?"
"Oh child," Shelby sighed and stroked my cheek. "You're not worthless. God gave you life. That's good enough for any of us."
"What's your name kiddo?" Marshall asked drawing my attention to him.
I bit my lip. Did I trust them? Could I trust them? What was trust even? Everyone I had ever trusted had let me down. Why should this time be any different? So then, what did it matter if they knew my name? "They call me Ruth."
"Ruth," Shelby said smiling. "That's a good strong name. You have a lot to live up to with a name like that. The most famous Ruth that ever lived went into a foreign land with only her mother-in-law in a time where women didn't do those things. She saved her mother-in-law and herself. She is one of the women who gave us hope."
"I couldn't compare to that." I said. "I don't matter."
"You matter Ruth," Shelby said. "Everyone matters. We'll just have to prove it to you."