Naomi was a widow in the bible. Her husband and her sons died.
Naomi was bereft. The verse specifically uses that word.
Anyway, she was a widow and her children were gone, but she had two daughters-in-law. One was named Ruth.
Some of my most favorite lines in scripture come from Ruth. Naomi tries to tell her daughters-in-law to go on without her. To return to their own homes. Leave her be - in her hurt, in her great sadness. She tried to push them away.
They wept together.
And then Ruth.
My favorite champion Ruth.
She stood in front of her mother-in-law and she said nope. Not today, kid. In some of the most poignant, fierce words, she says, "Don't make me leave you. Wherever you're going, I'm going. Wherever you're living, I'm going to live there, too. Your people will be my people - my tribe. We're going to love the same Jesus, and when you die, well. I'm gonna to die, too."
And so she stayed. Loyal. Firm. Resolved. Unwavering. And Naomi? She believed her.
Bestie Betsy and I - when things are bad ... when life is rough and one of us is in some kind of deep, deep dark place ... we check in with these verses.
Where you go, I go.
Where you live, I'll live.
Your people, they're my people.
It's a hush. A quiet. A warm outstretched hand and a head nod. It's an, "I know it sucks right now, but the good is coming," in a way that each of us seem to understand.
It's a call to the other that we're not alone. Never alone.
You know, I'm not really a relationship expert. I suppose one failed marriage doesn't exactly give you street cred when it comes to telling people how to do it right.
Just ... but.
When I think about more.
When I think about people doing life ... permanently ... forever ... with someone else, I think of Ruth.
Someone that will always bat on your team even if you suck at baseball and don't know what RBI stands for.
Someone that will help you with the hard decisions, that will help you hang the pictures straight, and will help you get over your hurts.
Someone that will be in the same room with you and thirty other people, but will always ... always ... be searching for you.
Someone who hits their knees hard for you - someone that joins you on the floor.
Someone that keeps your secrets safe in their chest. Someone that encourages you, pushes you, makes you want to do better.
Someone that won't leave when it sucks the most. Someone that just ... stays.
Someone that says that you're enough ... worth it.
Worth the more.
Today ... I'm celebrating Ruth. Ruth and her brave heart.
You whiten your teeth, slim your face, enlarge your eyes. Raise your cheekbones, resize your earlobes, erase blemishes. Elongate your nose.
Hide those under-eye bags that never seem to go away. Fix your eyebrows. Don’t forget that frown line that showed up in the middle of the night back in 2004.
Right then - that’s when you post your picture for everyone to see.
And they can’t see the melasma that you’ve had since baby number two, and they can’t see the acne scars. They can’t see the double chin or the volcano that always seems to erupt on your jawline.
All they see is a smiling face and the perfect caption that you’ve curated just for this moment:
The perfect mix of humor and candidness.
The perfect mix of wit.
The perfect mix.
They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and I believe it. They say that couples that don’t use social media are around 11% happier* than the couples that do and for good reason -
It’s easy to compare.
It’s easy to dig your own hole.
It’s easy to feel like you just don’t measure up.
It’s easy to forget they are using the filters and the face altering apps that leave them looking ten years younger. It’s easy to forget that your neighbor has his own crosses to bear and hurts to mend and lonely nights, too - because look at how lovely they look at Christmas dinner! Look how amazing she looks at that birthday party!
It’s also so easy to forget about the way we rise in the face of a challenge, or how we show up for people. It’s easy to forget about how we love hard on our kids and try our very best every day.
It’s easy to forget how *good* we are when we’re looking over the fence.
Let’s take a big, deep breath this week. Let’s remember where we come from -
We come from our grandma’s wrinkled, hard-working hands, and our momma’s hearty laugh. We come from our papa’s good manners, and our daddy’s big heart.
We come from more than a blemish eraser and a face brightener.
Let’s remember that.
* Source: McKinley Irvin Divorce Guide
We need to teach them about guts. We need to teach them how to lead with their shoulders back and their chins out and their eyes full of compassion. We need to teach them grit and resolve and every other word that means they will stay in the damn ring.
We need to teach them how to take responsibility for their actions. To own up to their mistakes. To apologize and rectify and every other word in our vocabulary that means they’ll cut the crap and try harder next time.
We need to teach them how to harness the fire in their bellies and we need to teach them how to move forward. We need to teach them to chase after dreams that are audacious and astronomical and every other word that means pie-in-the-sky-holy-whispers-at-night kinda big.
We need to teach them about the stunning urgency under which they’re growing up. We need to teach them about the empty-handed and the broken-hearted and every other word in our vocabulary that encompasses our People In Need.
We need to teach them how to rescue. We need to teach them to keep their eyes on the horizon, searching for the ones drowning. We need to teach them how to pull Their People from the fires and the water and the wind and every other word that means devastating disaster.
We need to teach them that they are every single tomorrow that we own. We need to teach them that they are every single raised hallelujah that we can conjure from our own seared hearts. We need to teach them that they are our greatest joys and our most important job and every single other word that means love.
We need to teach them that for every single step they take forward, we’re standing behind them pushing. For every single baby step, wide step, gallop or stumble. We need to teach them that we will be their greatest cheerleaders and their loudest supporters and every other word in our vocabulary that means we simply won’t leave them.
We need to teach them.
Because if we don’t?
How will they ever learn the astonishing and wildly bright and every other word that means good and true and -
How will they ever know that they are loved beyond all measure?
If you're divorced or separated or sending your kids of without you this season - I see you.
If you're kissing them on the cheek, if you're folding their shirts, counting their socks, and running your hand through their hair one more time -
just for good measure ...
I see you.
If you're standing in an empty driveway, waving to a car that's driving away with your whole entire heart, I see that, sweet friend.
If you're hands are empty, unsure, and unused, I see you there, too.
If you're picking up left behind, lifeless toys, if you're a party of less, and if you're habitually disappointed when you glance at the kid's table - I see you.
When you're bowing your head in a dinner-time prayer, if you're not listening to the rumbles of gratitude and instead -
if you're praying that your child isn't scared in a different house,
if you're praying that your child remembers their manners in a different house,
if you're praying that your child isn't lonely in a different house,
if you're praying that your child is getting enough love in a different house,
if you're praying that your child is laughing and getting hugs in a different house,
I see you.
There is hope in giving thanks; there is hope in tomorrow. And there is the knowledge that no matter what and no matter where, your child knows without a shadow of a doubt -
you'll be waiting in the driveway when they come back.
Start planning and scheming and writing and dreaming. Start walking or running or flying or speeding. Put one of your feet out in front of the other in some kind of timid perfect step that calls out to your demons that you have had enough.
Stand up, sis.
Take a deep breath and shrug your shoulders a few times. Give yourself a pep talk and imagine a fire - one that is burning and churning and crackling and consuming. Close your eyes if you have to and count to three. Pick a fight song, find a mantra, or make up a broken anthem full of every single whispered-in-the-middle-of-the-night dream.
Stand up, sis.
Clap for yourself, cheer for yourself, pat yourself on the back and slide forward like the streets were paved for only you. Feel the glory soaking into your chest and square those shoulders up. For once in your life, straighten your spine and
stand up, sis.
Gather every single "you can't even" and every single "you'll never make it" and every single "you're not enough" and every single time you were second, third, fourth, last, and every single shred of self-doubt and chuck it as far as you can. Gather them like flowers found in an empty field, and let them fly out on the wind.
Stand up, sis.
Tell them that you're here. Tell them that you're going to make it. Tell them to stand back and watch. Tell them that the magic is about to happen. Tell them that even if it takes months, years - you tell them that it's going to happen. Tell them about your faith and that burning in your chest that won't go away tonight.
You tell them what it's like because it's time you started standing up.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences. And if you need an awesome virtual assistant, who is full of personality and really good jokes? Email me. I'm your girl.
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He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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