Friday, May 15, 2009

Even If....

"...Even if I thought there was still hope for me...It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD's hand has gone out against me!" Ruth 1:12-13

These are the words Naomi spoke when her daughters-in-law made a commitment to stay with her upon the death of her sons. They genuinely felt that they wanted to remain with Naomi out of love and gratitude. These woman were Moabites and did not serve the God of Israel until coming into the family of Elimelech and Naomi. Naomi approached the conversation through an inward grief instead of a "community" grief. She had decided that she was in a hopeless situation and that the deaths were acts of punishment from the LORD. She wanted no part of the grief of her daughters-in-law so she could take up bitterness as her new companion.

With fresh grief in my life, I can relate to wanting to be near the ones who have gone through this with me. To seperate myself from my fellow grief bearers would be another form of loss that I could not bear. I feel a kinsmanship with Ruth as she is determined to remain with one who is so closely connected with her loss. Ruth is not only searching for her own comforts with her mother-in-law but desires a continued relationship with her out of love and gratitude for introducing her God to her.

As hard as it is for my family to bear my grief, not one member has pulled the Naomi card and is willing daily, if needed, to comfort me and lift me up although they are experiencing their own grief. A community of family is not only for the good times but the times when things seem hopeless, senseless and sad. Family experiences such as these can anchor our commitment to each other even more or discourage us from facing the painful faces who are traveling with us.

Naomi would have missed out on so much if Ruth hadn't remained with her and worked through the sadness and pain. Through Ruth's commitment to stay Naomi was able to turn her grief from being secluded and inward to having a responsibility for someone else in her "community of grief". It is easy to pull the covers over our head when living in grief but who is it helping? It is easy to push people away during our grief but what is it teaching? Grief comes in all forms - divorce, abandonment, loss of a job, death, etc...

I thank God everyday for the Ruth's in my family and pray that I, too, can be a Ruth for someone else.

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