Have you ever met someone whose childhood story is so chilling that you’ve wondered how they get their shoes on in the morning? And yet they have grown up to rise out of what most people would call ashes?
I know real life people who are Phoenix-like wonders but their stories are their stories. A fictional character whose story I can share is Ruth Langmore on the Netflix series Ozark (which is great by the way.) Ruth is played by the actor Julia Garner who should win all the awards.
Ruth dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and – at the age of 19 – she mothers her nephews and – occasionally – her own father in a small compound of shacks and trailers in rural Missouri. There are suggestions that she is a victim of incest. She is not a stranger to crime.
Ruth is scrappy and brave. She manages a strip club and does other assorted jobs for Jason Bateman’s character. And in the thick of this life, she has dreams: dreams that one her her nephews will go to college, dreams that she might live in a real house some day. She is a miracle.
The miracle is that – on most days at least – she wants to live. The miracle is that – on most days – she has hope that something good will happen. The miracle is that she is resilient beyond anyone’s expectation. The miracle is that she stands up for herself in spite of being told over and over again that she’ll never be anything more than a poor, uneducated Langmore.
It’s important to notice these miracle people. It’s important to stand with them and offer encouragement and opportunities.
There are children and teenagers and young adults all around us whose good days are worse than anything we have experienced on our worst days, and so it’s a blessing to befriend people like Ruth Langmore.
If we could be inspired by a fictional character, imagine how inspiring a relationship with a real-life miracle person could be.
Image of Julia Garner as Ruth Langmore in Ozark.