“I believe I have known many Orpahs and will meet others. You know Orpah, too. The first Orpah I recognized is a woman I met in 1997 when I was trying to become the rector of a beautiful little Episcopal church in Maryville, Tennessee. I don’t remember much of what she said in our initial conversation on the phone, probably because I was babbling and trying very hard to be charming, dignified, holy, available, like that. I do not think I fooled her, but it was the beginning of what turned into a real friendship.
It took me a while to hear Orpah’s story. I often found myself talking to her about me, while she listened quietly, attentively. This is the thing with Orpahs. They do not grab center stage.
Just like the biblical Orpah, we all have been blessed by people in our lives who have made important and brave choices. They listen with compassion when others do not. They do what needs to be done without thought of self. If you are an Orpah, please thank God for yourself today. And if you know an Orpah (and you do) please thank her and God for the gifts she brings to the universe.
This message was adapted from “Orpah’s Choice” written by Martha Sterne that first appeared in the September 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.