Ruth is one of the women of the bible that I feel sets the standard for the type of woman one should search for in life. Throughout her namesake book she demonstrates a great number of attributes few women of the world have today. The most quoted lines of Ruth come from chapter 1 verses 16 and 17 as she speaks to her mother-in-law Naomi.
“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
She had an unparalleled level of dedication, and if a woman said that to me, I don’t know that my fragile heart could take it. After entering Bethlehem, Ruth was sent to glean from the fields as it was harvest time. They were in a state of poverty, and she took on a role of one of the lowest social classes. She could have returned to Moab, but she stayed with Naomi and humbled herself by picking the crop that was left behind by the farmers. It’s hard to find women today who know such humility. Upon speaking to her, Boaz knew her because of her kindness. At the instruction of Naomi, she laid at the feet of Boaz while he slept. When he woke, she asked him to throw his cloak over her and make her his wife. This again shows her humbleness.
Dedication, obedience, humility, kindness. These attributes are good things to look for in a woman. Sadly, they’re also hard to find. Today it seems even the purest of women can be corrupted by the world.
I always hoped to find a Ruth someday, and as you’ve read from my blog, I’m not averse to the idea of polygamy. Having a full house would have been nice. I try not to sit around and dream too much. If i don’t keep my hands busy my mind tends to wonder, though. Sometimes I can see their shadows dancing around the kitchen. If you listen closely, you can hear the bustle that comes with a large family. But, it’s important to remember that you can’t fall in love with an idea. Trust me, I’ve been there. It doesn’t end well.
While you look for your Ruth, there’s someone else you should also keep an eye out for, Sophia. I’ve come to know her well as I’ve gotten older. She’s not a person in the traditional sense, but a concept. Sophia, σοφῐ́ᾱ, is the greek word for wisdom. At times it’s hard to know what’s right and wrong. What direction you should go. When everyone else around you seems to be finding what you’re looking for, it’s easy to want to settle for someone that isn’t really good for you. In cases such as this, divine wisdom is what one should seek.
I’ll be the first to say it, this life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it gets lonely. You may find someone you think would be a good enough partner and want to settle, but as hard as it is to say, sometimes she isn’t worth it. If she distracts you from your walk, she’s not worth it. If she knowingly gives you even a moment of anguish, she isn’t worth it. If she flirts around with an endless cycle of boys in the guise of ‘figuring things out’, she is by no means worth it. If you’re willing to give everything for her and she takes that for granted, she isn’t worth it. If you’re prepared to lead, care, and provide to the best of your ability, but she doesn’t work toward being the type of woman she’s called to be, she isn’t worth it. There’s no place for self-centeredness, inconsideration, or haughtiness on either side of this coin. If you aren’t wholly dedicated to each other in all things, it’s not worth it. Whether in practice or in spirit, kiss her on the head and bid her farewell. Head down, eyes forward. There’s no room for distractions. I’ve said plenty of times, if someone wants to walk beside me, I’m happy to have them. If they try and pull me aside, then I’ll leave them behind and kick the dust from my sandals as I leave.
In 1st Corinthians 7 Paul said that it’s better not to marry. He thought it best for everyone to totally dedicate their lives to Christ as he did. There’s no shame in that. If you’re working to be a Boaz you shouldn’t settle for a Jezebel or Delilah. If you never find your Ruth, so be it. There may have been a time when you thought she was really great. You may still think there’s a possibility she’ll change one day. But, you can’t marry potential. If there’s even the slightest chance in her mind that you are her Boaz, she should drop everything else and be prepared to find out. If you were that important to her, nothing else would matter. If you aren’t that important to her, you’re not her Boaz. And, as hard as it may be to come to terms with, she’s not your Ruth. Nor will she be anybody’s. A Ruth wouldn’t behave in keeping with the fore mentioned, and no Boaz would have her.
‘What dreams may come’ is one of my favourite movies. For those not in the know, a man and his children die and go to heaven. His wife overcome with griefs kills herself and goes to hell. He then spends the whole movie trying to find her. In the end, he tracks her down. Because she’s been in hell so long, she’s lost all sense of self. His guide tells him that if he stays, the same will happen to him. Talking to his wife he says “I’m sorry for all the things I’ll never give you. I’ll never buy you another meatball sub with extra sauce. And always the big one. I’ll never make you smile. I just wanted us to be old together. Two old farts laughing at each other as our bodies fell apart. Together at the end. By that lake in your painting. That was our heaven, see? There’s lots of things to miss. Books…naps… kisses…and fights. Oh, God, we had some great ones. Thank you for those. Thank you for every kindness. Thank you for our children. For the first time I saw them. Thank you for being someone I was always proud to be with. For your guts, for your sweetness. For how you always looked, for how I always wanted to touch you. God, you were my life. I apologise for every time I failed you… Especially this one.” He sends his guide back to his children, he stays with his wife. In his final moments before losing himself he then says to her “In one minute I won’t know you any better than you’ll know me. But we’ll be together. Where we belong. Good people go to hell because they can’t forgive themselves. I know I can’t. But I can forgive you.” Blaming herself for their deaths she asks ‘For killing my children? And my sweet husband?’ He then tells her “No… For being so wonderful a guy would choose hell over heaven, just to hang around you.” I know life isn’t a movie, I’ve said it numerous times this week. But still, can you imagine a love like that? That amount of dedication? That’s something to strive for.
I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes you have to just walk away. Yes, it’s hard. Sometimes it’s soul-crushing. When the morning light shines through the windows and the shadows fade away, there’s no one left but me. There is no noise echoing around my house. There’s an unrivaled amount of stillness. It isn’t as bad as it seems, though. My alone time allows me to reflect. The quiet helps me study. Sometimes people who know about my history with women feel sorry for me. I wish they didn’t. I hate pity, and there’s no reason to pity me. Admittedly, there are times when things affect me briefly more than I would like them to. But, after awhile, I remember it’s ok. I could die in this house alone right now, and I would be ok. If that happens, I can find solace in the fact that I never settled. Tempted as I may have been, I didn’t give in to anyone who would have taken away from my walk. I’ve built houses before, and I built my house on a foundation of stone. When the rains came, my house wasn’t washed away. No matter if it’s the temptations of the world, unimaginable tribulations, or the desires of weak flesh, I made it. And, to quote the great philosopher Elton John, “I’m still standing.”
What you should take from all of this is that, even if you spend your whole life alone, that’s ok. You aren’t defined by what relationships you did or didn’t have. It’s better to spend your whole life in solitude than to allow even one person to cause you to stray from the narrow path. It’s ok. You’re ok, and so am I. Things might change in the future, and they might not. Either way, it’s ok.
To close, as Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, chapter 6 verse 18.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
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