I was pulling weeds this morning and, who knew, it is surprisingly therapeutic! My almost 1-year-old just discovered dirt… it rained last night so I guess I should say mud. I was reminded of a time in my youth when I used to make mud pies and then take a bite, thinking it would taste delicious. Not so much. Apparently she concurs on the taste of dirt! And so it begins…
I got to thinking about all those metaphors you hear about weeds and dirt and some of them are kind of cliché aren’t they? The one I’ll focus on now is feeding negativity, a major problem of mine. It’s a lot like a garden full of weeds. There may be some beautiful flowers in there but they’re hard to see because of all the weeds. Even worse those weeds start to choke out the flowers until the weeds take over and once those weeds are deeply rooted, they’re very hard to remove.
So, like a good gardener, I took about an hour pulling up these weeds, and I thought the pile looked huge till I took a picture of it and though it looks pretty puny! Not only that, there are so many left I haven’t pulled. Isn’t that about how it is: the work we have to do sometimes is so overwhelming and such hard, hard work. Then we take a step back to see what we’ve done and it looks like almost nothing.
How do you handle the daunting task of weeding out negative thoughts? One weed at a time!
In a protected, nurtured area we started some zinnia seeds. Zinnias must be a gardeners dream (first time trying them) because we planted them and they germinated within four days! They’re already peaking up through the dirt. So I know they are delicate and if I put them outside right now they won’t survive out here; we’ve got rabbits and all kinds of birds, bugs like grasshoppers especially that love to eat tender young plants.
Kind of reminds me of a situation I experienced as a young girl. Someone very close to me used to tell me all the time that I was fat and ugly and I would never have a boyfriend. So I decided desirable characteristics to gain a boyfriend must be pretty and thin. I was young and delicate and I didn’t have a great foundation of self-worth. It didn’t take much for me to succumb to this kind of bullying behavior.
So began years of starving myself to be thin even though I actually already was. And a beautiful flower has a hard time growing with no nutrients.
Oh how I wish I could go back as the woman I am today and speak to that girl that I was back then! Maybe tell her about Ruth and how she had a lot of negative things happen to her but unlike her mother in law Naomi who became bitter and even changed her name to “Mara” which means bitter, Ruth chose to focus on the positive ones, and ended up being part of an amazing love story! The other great thing about the story of these two women is that even though Naomi must have been a hard person to be around with so much grief at the loss of her husband and both of her sons, with no grandchildren, Ruth stood by her. She pledged her faithfulness to a woman that she could have easily left behind and went on with her life.
The world will tell you you’re not beautiful enough you: need more curves, you need less curves, you need longer legs, bigger boobs, you need tan skin, you need the fountain of youth…the list goes on. You may compare yourself to the women you see on t.v. and in commercials and just start hating yourself. The weeds just start growing and growing!
If you aren’t in a community of like-minded individuals, it might even feel like someone is throwing Miracle Grow on those weeds and making them grow faster and stronger.
If I can suggest one thing to you it is this, if you are feeling like Naomi, so bitter and overwhelmed with the weeds in your garden, consider finding yourself a friend like Ruth. Someone who can build you up and be a good support system for you, and even help you pull some of those weeds!
Here’s the back story if you haven’t been following my blog, you may have noticed the name RUTH cleverly embedded in my title tRUTHful. She is the inspiration for this and many other future conversations.
“And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool”.
Do you know that line? It’s from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 novel, The Great Gatsby, and it’s a quote from the iconic Daisy Buchanan when asked about her young daughter.
Ruth is one of only 2 women who have books in the Old Testament named after them. My favorite thing about Ruth is that she isn’t known for her beauty, but for her character.
The reason I find this significant is because from my viewpoint, thinking about women of that time (and it’s still prominent) the first thing that’s usually noticed or commented on regarding a woman is her beauty.
And herein lies a major issue I think females face today that can affect their ability to be authentic. I think back to times I felt so much pressure to be beautiful,and the lengths I went to fit into what our society views as beautiful.
It may seem strange to contrast the Ruth of the Old Testament with Daisy but bear with me. Daisy didn’t buck the system back in the 20s and sadly assumed her daughter was destined for the same. I’m very glad there are women today speaking out!
I listen to the lyrics to Lana Del Ray,s song Young and Beautiful from the 2013 movie and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Have you heard it? If not here’s a link!
Del Ray asked the question many a woman thinks about when she realizes she’s not sure she can still describe herself as young. “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful”? You can almost hear the desperation behind the question.
It’s compelling, isn’t it?
Do men fear getting older like I do? I mean I’m sure there aren’t a lot of men out there who are afraid they’ll get traded in for a younger model (maybe literally) just because their body has the expected wear and tear any woman who has lived and experienced fabulous days on the beach, maybe pregnancy, or perhaps child-birth and definately the effects of gravity!
I think about cultural reasons why woman develop this fear. Just watch any major movie where a male costar is like 50 and his female costar is in her 20s. What a pervasive message this sends consider how film influences our society. Where else do many children first see relationships other than that of their parents? Then I think about how ironic it is that Reese Witherspoon is now an advocate for the limitations of women’s roles in film when I can close my eyes and still see her as the quintessential Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Well, she’s 41 now and in my opinion as amazing as ever!
So, it makes me smile that the story of Ruth contains no reference to her beauty and it’s not the reason we know who she is! Now that I have my own daughter I want to remember that while she is likely to always be first noticed for her appearance, I will strive to inspire in her the character and strength Ruth exudes and which gave her her place in a legacy we still talk about today!
-Here’s the back story! If you haven’t read my other blog posts my title, tRUTHful has the name RUTH cleverly embedded. She’s the inspiration for this and many other future conversations.
Let me be transparent here. I thought long and hard about launching a blog that had something to do with faith or Christianity. Reason being, sometimes as soon as you mention these words people run screaming in the opposite direction because they’ve met someone who represented these ideas in a negative way and that bothers me. It’s the same reason why I took about an 18 year hiatus from religion myself.
But then I thought, there needs to be a voice for people like me or people like you who might feel like that. So before you see my biblical references or scripture in here and think “oh here’s another disillusioned Christian trying to tell me how to live my life” please understand where I’m coming from.
I’m far from having all the answers. In fact, I’d liken to myself to these biscuits I put in the oven under the broiler (because the oven heats up faster that way) and forgot to turn it back to 400 before baking them. I’m a work In progress. I’ve sadly had to learn the hard way from my mistakes, but underneath the surface you may find something amazing!
Ruth was a Moabite woman who ended up becoming a widow, but returned to Bethlehem with her Mother in law, Naomi. Naomi was in a particularly sad situation, as her husband and both sons were now dead, leaving her alone. She was bitter. And who could blame her?
What is it about Ruth that speaks to me? Her faithfulness. She lost her husband and did not bear him any children. In that time it was in her best interest to find a new husband, not stand by her MIL. But Ruth told Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
Ruth 1:16-17 NIV http://bible.com/111/rut.1.16-17.niv
Ruth was true to her word. What a comfort she must have been for a woman who had lost everything dear to her.
Her character traits inspired me and her name is at the root of the name I chose for my blog. I picture her as a woman who has courage, but most importantly, hope. There’s so many things that can steal a woman’s hope away in the world we live in, but that wasn’t where Ruth chose to focus her time and energy. She knew somehow that the best was yet to come!
More than that, I’m reminded of other woman of strong character that have inspired me. It is my desire to raise my daughter this way.
It’s kind of funny, when my sons were born I wasn’t nearly as passionate about this. There’s something about raising a daughter who will one day leave my home and it’s very important to me that she know her worth and be strong.
Read on, my upcoming blog entries will pursue authentically living in today’s world while we tackle issues relevant to people trying to keep the faith.
Who was RUTH? What amazing TRUTH can we learn from her? Stay tuned to read and share about my quest to live authentically as a woman in today’s world and to empower other girls and women to do the same!