Where you go, I will go
Naomi was an Israelite woman, living in the land of Moab. She was a widow and had two sons, each married to a Moabite. One son died, then the other, and Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to return to their own family homes. Orpah did, but Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. She accompanied her mother-in-law to as she returned to her homeland and the protection of her own relatives. This is a beautiful story of love and devotion, of two lives interwoven, and of how God blesses each of them.
Three Pivotal People
One exercise this past week was to choose three people who had a strong positive influence on us, then write a letter to one of them. I had four people; my sister; an elementary school teacher; a friend I met in grade 7 and a friend I met in grade 11.
I was deeply moved by the woman in our group who chose her parents. She is in her 30s which means her parents are in their 50s. She grew up with loving supportive parents who encouraged each of their children to be their best selves, without trying to compare, change or shape them. Now, her parents are her closest friends.
One woman shared about the profound influence of her grandfather’s unconditional love, and his daily prayers for his grandchildren. God, prayer and Bible study were the cornerstone of her grandparents’ life. Another woman talked about a friend she met some ten years ago, who mentored her, prayed for her (and still does) and who cares, listens and supports her in ways that sustain her and encourage her to be all that she can be.
My letter was to my childhood friend. I thanked her for loving me and accepting me for who I was. I told her how much it meant to me, coming over to her house, being welcomed and affirmed by her parents. I felt safe and comfortable at her home. Now I understand why it meant so much to me at a time when my own home could be a place of uncertainty.
We talked about the Trinity and our understanding of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I don’t truly understand it, but I believe it, by faith. I am comfortable accepting what I don’t know.
We paired up to talk about our experiences with a role we play in life that is a difficult one for us. My partner described her challenges as the youngest of five daughters. I talked about my brief but painful and difficult marriage to a drug-addicted bi-polar man.
As a group, we each talked about the results of our Strengths test (here’s a link to the site with an overview http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths/VIA-Classification – the test is free).There were some surprises at the results and we agreed that we would answer a few questions differently, based on the situation. One of our goals, in this group, is to determine how to work to our strengths in the context of our life roles. In the week ahead, we will be examining our habits and thought patterns as part of the process.
It is important to focus on our strengths and work on building them up. It’s also important to understand how qualities or traits we lack can impact our lives. Food for more thought…
Tonight we will be discussing our values, our motives, our abilities and our fears…