If bitterness was collateral, then Naomi would have been a millionaire. Naomi was a woman in the Bible who had seen her share of sad days, losing her husband and then both of her sons. These losses and the accompanying grief were compounded by financial distress. Because of the culture she was living in, not having a male to provide for her, be it a husband, a son or a grandson, put Naomi in a very stressful and scary position. Furthermore, she had two daughter-in-laws to worry about. They were lovely girls, mind you, but they were more mouths to feed. So she told her daughter-in-laws that they should return home to their families, something that was not in accordance with the custom of the day. But Naomi didn’t know what else to do. She planned on returning to her family in Israel and hoping for the best. Maybe someone would have pity on her and take her in. Otherwise, she would become a beggar on the street – as if life hadn’t been hard enough on this older woman who was just trying to get through each day under the intense weight of her sadness. Have you ever felt so sad that you no longer cared what happened to you? Naomi felt this way. And I’m sure just trying to think about how to take care of her daughter-in-laws while struggling under the pressure of grief and financial strain was too much for her.
One of the daughters agreed to go home to her family but the other daughter-in-law, Ruth, begged to stay with Naomi. So Naomi brought Ruth with her back to Israel, a land that Ruth had never seen before. Now Ruth is following a grieving widow while trying to handle her own grief and adjusting to a new culture. She had her own sadness and financial concerns pressing down on her, but her reaction to life’s stress was different than her mother-in-law’s. Where Naomi saw her loss and grief as a box that contained her, Ruth looked around for the new beginning. Where Naomi looked at the season she was in as the definition of who she was, Ruth looked forward with hope for what could transpire.
This has been a horrible winter in my region of the country for serious illness like the flu, pneumonia and bronchitis. I have lost count of how many of my colleagues, friends and family members have been sick this winter. I, on the other hand, have escaped what we are sarcastically referring to as “the plague” in my office. Woot-woot!
But in hearing my friends talk about their illnesses and how long it is taking them to regain their strength, I recall the time that I had pneumonia a number of years ago. I remember how my body felt as the illness came on, the severe discomfort of being in throws of the fever and coughing, and the full-body fatigue that kept me in bed for marathon naps. Just taking a shower sent me back to bed for a two hour coma-like sleep. I have never been so weak. My body was fighting an illness that was trying to kill me and thanks to modern medicine and prayer, my body won. I never had the concern that I would die, but I did question how long it take for me to regain my strength. I had experienced such a dramatic physical set-back that it wasn’t overnight bounce-back.
Have you stayed healthy this winter or have you been one of the casualties? If you have managed to stay healthy, what are your tricks? We’re still in cold and flu season, so share with the other readers what you do to stay healthy so we can all benefit! Do you juice, make healthy smoothies, exercise? What’s your secret? Leave a Comment below!
Our physical bodies mirror our souls in many ways. And one of those ways is in the area of health. When our body is under attack from a virus or infection, we say, “I think I’m coming down with something.” We can feel that something just isn’t right. Sometimes we get more warning than others; but most of the time, unless we’re asleep at the onset of the symptoms, we can tell that our body is beginning to engage in immune system warfare. Our white blood cells are rushing to the scene inside our body to bring healing, and all of this internal warfare causes us to feel tired and depleted. Our bodies can’t sustain normal energy output while fighting a major internal attack which leaves our energy reserves abysmally low both during and after an illness.