Thunder rumbled in the distance and the grass swayed in the stormy wind. A large ranch style home sat nestled amidst 20 acres of horse pastures, it's worn shutters being beaten by the rain that was falling from the sky. A girl stood just outside of the home, her face lifted to the sky. Tears mixed with raindrops streamed down her face. She was soaked to the skin and her wild red mane of hair was plastered to her head. The chill of the wind and the rain was the least of her concern. Her heart was broken.
In just an instant the love of her life had been ripped away from her. A tragic car accident had killed her father-in-law, her brother-in-law, and worst of all her husband. She never knew she could miss someone so much. Gone were the long trail ride dates, the fishing trips, the family nights camping out in the woods. Gone was the feel of her husband's strong arms wrapped around her waist or the calloused touch of his fingers interlocked with hers. They'd had such grand plans. Just that upcoming year they were going to try to start a family. She had often daydreamed about the beautiful life their kids would have as they were raised on the beautiful rustic ranch.
Now the ranch was sold. The horses were sold. There were no babies. Everything she loved was gone.
It was too much for her sister-in-law, Oprah. As soon as the funeral was over, she was on a plane flying back to her parents home on the coast determined to forget that the nightmare ever even happened. In some ways, Ruthie wondered if she should leave too, but something in her heart told her to stay. Despite her Mother-in-Law Nam's demands that she too should go back to her hometown, she insisted on remaining. Nam had no one left to take care of her, and Ruthie loved Nam like her own birth mother. She knew they had to stay together.
With the money from the sale of the homestead, Nam and Ruthie packed up their few remaining belongings and took a bus into the city, renting a small apartment in the neighborhood that Nam had grown up in. Ruthie wasn't used to city life, but she knew that the money they were living on wouldn't last forever. She bravely braided her hair, did her makeup, put on her best skirt and blouse and started looking for a job. She was willing to do any type of work. She applied to be a janitor, salesman, fast food worker, but for some reason, nothing seemed to work out for her. She started to take on odd jobs. She would babysit, dog walk, and clean or do yardwork for the elderly. She did anything she could to make ends meet. Finally one afternoon, after a long day of running around town searching for work, she decided to grab a cup of tea at Grain Field Cafe.
As she approached the ordering counter, she caught the eye of the shop's owner, Bo, who happened to be managing his staff that day.
"Let me get this one," he told the cashier, stepping up to serve the tired young woman, "what can I get for you?"
Ruthie saw the kind expression in his eyes and the handsome features of his face, "Uh, I'll just take a small cup of Chamomile please." she stammered, rummaging in her purse for some loose change.
The gentleman smiled as she tried to hand him the payment, "No worries," he said cheerfully, "this one is on the house."
Something about the kind gesture after the strain of the long day caused Ruthie's eyes to fill with tears, "Are you sure?" she replied.
Concerned for the lovely girl, he nodded his head and reached for some napkins, "Here." he said softly as she started to wipe away her smeared mascara.
She thanked him and stumbled over to one of the pretty little tables, dropping herself into the cushioned chair. This cozy country-themed place felt like home. The home she had left behind. The sniffles continued to come.
Bo watched the girl intently as he poured her tea into a clean, china teacup. He set it onto a saucer and reached into the bakery shelf behind him, pulling out a warm blueberry muffin. Taking both items in hand, he quietly approached her table.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He said softly, taking the chair across from her.
She let out a long sigh. Even though he was a stranger, this man felt like a friend, "I just really need a full-time job." She admitted weakly, unable to reveal to him the whole story of her trials.
"Come work here for me." Bo blurted out, without really intending to. The two individuals both seemed caught off guard by his offer.
"Are- are you hiring?" She stammered, realizing she was talking to the cafe owner.
"I guess I am now," Bo chuckled, rubbing the scruff on his chin, "You can help out with the bakery tasks. We make all our own fresh pastries. If you like this kind of work we can even train you for a barista job. It is always nice to have an extra pair of hands. I don't know what your exact financial needs are, but I will try to pay you the best I can."
Ruthie pondered this for a moment, "Well if you are sure about your offer, I'd really love to do it!"
That night, Ruthie returned home to her apartment and told Nam everything. Nam couldn't believe it! Her eyes twinkled with excitement for the first time in a long time, "Oh Ruthie! I remember Bo's family from when I lived here in the past. Bo comes from a wonderful home! He is a good man, he treats his customers well and the Lord blesses him with business. You couldn't have asked for a better place to work... and best of all he is single too!"
Ruthie blushed, "Nam, I'm not really thinking-"
"Oh nonsense!" the older woman interrupted, "You are young and pretty. You deserve to find love again."
Over the next few months, Ruthie learned the ropes of her new job. She made friends with the other staff, served every customer with a genuine smile, and kept the kitchen and dining area clean and spotless. It wasn't long before everyone at the cafe was noticing her hard work... especially Bo.
Bo had begun to pick up on Ruthie's needs. He noticed that she rarely brought a lunch to work and often wore the same outfit twice. Although she was always clean, her pants were faded and her shirt outdated. He never saw her take a car to the cafe. Instead, she was dropped off at the bus stop or arrived on a bicycle. Bo secretly started doing everything he could to help with this. He purposely left out all of the day-old bread, telling Ruthie that she should take it home so it didn't go to waste. He arranged for a co-worker who lived near Ruthie to start picking her up for her shifts. If he received any tips on the days he helped out with serving, he would inconspicuously slip them into Ruthie's jar. He loved seeing her excitement each week as she counted her earnings, always discovering that she had more than she expected.
Bo liked Ruthie, but he didn't know how she felt about him. While she was always friendly, it seemed that she was hiding something. Despite doing great work at the cafe, she always seemed a little bit sad. Bo thought about Ruthie a lot. He thought about asking her on a date once, but he knew as her employer that could cause trouble. He also thought she might not feel that way about him...
Bo was not the only one who was secretly looking out for Ruthie, Nam also had her in mind. She made a point to re-connect with Bo's parents who lived in the area. She often went to late-night BINGO with Bo's mom. This is how she found out that Bo was going on a blind date that coming weekend. Nam immediately knew she had to say something to Ruthie.
"So how do you feel about Bo?" She asked one evening as the two ladies were having dinner.
Ruthie blushed. She liked Bo, but she didn't know how he felt about her. He was a good boss and always seemed to be concerned for her well being, but maybe he treated all of his employees that way. Despite wanting to, she had yet to open up to him about the suffering of her past.
"I really like him." She confessed to Nam.
"Have you told him how you feel?" Nam prodded.
Ruthie shook her head, "No, I can't do that. He has been so kind to me. I don't want to offend him... after all, he is my boss."
"Nonsense!" Nam exclaimed, "I know his family! He will not be offended. I've spoken with his mother. He is supposed to go on a blind date later tonight. You need to go to the cafe immediately and tell him how you feel before it is too late!"
"I don't even work tonight's shift!" Ruthie protested.
"It doesn't matter! Quick! We need to get you ready! Go pick out your nicest outfit and I will do your hair and makeup for you. You will go and wait for him in the parking lot, and when he comes out tell him how you feel."
Ruthie felt the butterflies come to her stomach and her heart began to race as she did what Nam said. She took out one of her nicest dresses, a dress she hadn't worn since she was married. It was a beautiful gree color that brought out her red hair and hazel eyes. Nam did her hair in curls, sweeping the front sections back into a beautiful half-updo. After what felt like hours, Ruthie stood in front of the mirror, admiring the handiwork as Nam grabbed her a coat.
"Go get your man." She teased as she placed it on Ruthie's shoulders.
The evening was cool and crisp as Ruthie road the bus to the now-familiar eatery. She had become fond of the hinged sign that read Grain Field Cafe. She stepped off the bus and walked around the side of the brick building, unsure of where to stand while she waited. She saw Bo's old red truck parked in the back of the lot. She decided to wait for him there. Crossing the asphalt, she hoisted herself up into the truck bed. It seemed like every minute that passed was a decade. Finally, she heard the creak of the back door and the sound of footsteps. She looked over her shoulder and gazed on the handsome figure coming towards her. Without noticing her, the man began to insert his key into the driver's side door.
"Bo," Ruthie said softly, emerging from the truck bed, "don't be mad," she added when she saw his look of surprise.
"Ruthie, you scared me. What are you doing here? Are you okay?" His eyes were filled with concern.
"I'm sorry," she awkwardly apologized again, "yes, I'm okay. I'm good... I just- I really need to talk to you."
"Okay, yeah sure. Do you want to just talk in the truck?" He nodded towards his unlocked vehicle. Ruthie shook her head yes, and went around to the passenger side.
Once the two were inside, Ruthie found herself opening up her heart to Bo. She told him about her past, the ranch, the horses, the tragic car accident. She let him see all of the burdens she had been holding in. Bo was calm and quiet. He took her hand as she spoke and gently squeezed it. He reached across the car console and wiped away the stray tears that stained her face.
"I want to be with you." Ruthie breathed, as she finished sharing her story, "you are good, and kind, and a hard worker. I've admired you all this time."
Bo wrapped her into a hug and nestled his chin in her hair, "Thank you for telling me. I know that took a lot of courage, and I'm so honored that you feel this way about me." he pulled back for a moment, "I do have to be honest though, I am supposed to go on a blind date tonight... in about twenty minutes actually. It wouldn't be right for me to cancel that so suddenly, but I do want to continue this conversation. Let me drive you home, and after my date, I will come over and we can talk."
Ruthie agreed to this plan, and Bo quickly took her home. She found Nam waiting at the door for her. She told her what had happened.
"Bo is a good man. He will do the right thing." Nam assured her. She poured Ruthie a cup of hot cocoa and the two settled in on the couch together, waiting for Bo to return. They didn't have to wait long. Less than an hour later, there was a knock at the door. Nam motioned for Ruthie to get it.
Getting up, she crossed the small living space and opened the door. There stood Bo, with a bouquet of white daisies. At the sight of her, he pulled her close to him and kissed her.
That was all the explanation she needed.
This is my personal favorite love story! It is found in the Bible in the book of Ruth (Ruth 1-4)
Ruth, a widow and full-time carer of her mother-in-law, Naomi, took up work with Naomi’s relative, Boaz. Ruth providing for the mother of her deceased husband was seen as a noble by Boaz, and he looked upon her favorably – despite the fact she was a “foreigner”. Boaz cared for Ruth and sent her to work in a field full of young women to ensure that the young men didn’t assault her. Boaz has Ruth’s best interests at heart and does all he can to ensure that she remains safe. Indicating that true love is about protecting, caring and supporting for the one that you love.
Ruth and Boaz are two very special people because they played a key role in the genealogy of David, and ultimately the genealogy of Christ himself.