At the bedside of an actively dying person with their family and friends gathered in the room, one of the points I often make is the share the stories of their loved ones life. The stories that make you laugh, long, love, roll-your-eyes and all the ones in between. There is wisdom and wonder if the stories told. And everyone has a lifetime of stories that should not be lost.
Today I ran across one of those stories. And so I share with you an article by Jim Slatter of the Associated Press on the passing of the last Civil War widow.
In the epic novel The Lord of the Rings, the elves of Lothlorien admit that they are losing their forest lands. But they battle on. The describe their struggle as “fighting the long defeat.” This is source of the comment made by Paul Farmer, who has fought a “losing battle” for health care for the poor. In Tracy Kidder’s biography of Farmer called Mountains Beyond Mountains, Farmer says, “I have fought the long defeat and brought other people on to fight the long defeat, and I’m not going to stop because we keep losing… I actually think sometimes we may win… So, you fight the long defeat.”
Reminds me of the persistent widow. Continue reading
In the ancient near-east (ANE) widows had no intrinsic standing within the community. Further the court system in ANE was a world of men – woman were not considered stable witnesses and often has no rights of inheritance. It was typical for a woman’s case to represented by one of her kinsmen. In this parable the widow seems to lack kinsmen and resources (for a bribe), and thus pursues the case herself. As even this parable makes clear, in the tradition of Israel a widow is the ultimate state of vulnerability, deprivation and need. Continue reading