I’ve memorized your pages, know the folds of your story as I flip them back and forth. Out of every chapter and verse, your story has always been the one that nudged my heart. Because you and I, we speak a similar language, one of loyalty and fear and vulnerability.
And out of every person who lived in the days we hear about in Sunday school as we turn the pages of the most well-known Book on earth, you are the only one I’d imagine grabbing coffee with and talking for hours on end. Because something about you draws me to you, curiosity and admiration and amazement.
If you were my friend, I’d say Ruthie, tell me again. Tell me how it happened. And maybe you’d giggle or you’d roll your eyes and say Really? Again? How many times must I tell you? And then I’d laugh and shrug my shoulders, and you’d just smile.
It wasn’t magic, you might say with a laugh. No romance, all awkwardness. Sweaty and sore and muddy from being in the fields all day when he showed up. But he was kind, so kind, with eyes that were sure and steady. And I knew then, even then. I loved him. Being near him was as natural as breathing.
And then Naomi convinced you to seduce him? I ask with a snort, all skepticism.
And you laugh and shake your head and say you don’t think God would have anything to do with a plan like that?
Well, it doesn’t sound much like the God I’ve been told about.
But does it sound like the God you know?
And I’d have to think on that for a little while, because that question never occurred to me.
And you continue.
Naomi had been nudging me for a while, but I knew it was a God thing. I knew the fear. It was familiar. It was a fear to conquer, not a fear to listen to.
And this is where I wish I could push back my chair and grab you by the shoulders and shake the answer out of you, because I’m desperate and out of answers and I need to know- Ruth, how did you do it? How did you bare yourself to a man, a man you hardly knew? How did you lay yourself at his feet and give your body and soul over to him, without a doubt or hesitation?
But maybe you did hesitate. Maybe you paced back and forth outside the threshing floor that night, reaching your hand to the door handle and then dropping it again, wrought with conflict. And that’s where a book doesn’t do it justice, that night in the hay. The tension and vulnerability and raw sensuality in that room, thick like the blanket you slept under. How vulnerable it must have felt, Ruth, walking into that room to ask a man that was hardly your friend to marry you, nothing but your beauty to prove your worthiness.
And he was good to you, wasn’t he Ruth? He married you and he loved you and cared for you until you both died, old and happy and satisfied with the lives you lived. You took every opportunity that came your way, Ruth, and I so admire that about you.
One day you and I will meet, and I’ll wrap my arms around your neck and thank you for the wisdom and courage you shared with me, courage to bare my heart with the people I love and the lesson that vulnerability is beautiful and sexy and honest and all those good things. I’ll be needing those lessons, today and always.