Ruth and Naomi – Mother, Daughter, Colleagues, Friends.

So I have been given the task of finding a poem or something pertaining to mothers, since it’s Mother’s May,  where everyone continues to take advantage, and you can get anything in the name of mothers, whether commercially, in the home, of even spiritually – themed sermons are classic – never passée.

Still, while I was instructed initially to find things on Esther, that was, well, not for me to do. Turns out I had more time, to find something on someone else. (Because, hey, we have a theme going on, look for that) So, Ruth and Naomi and that hallmark of a mother-in-law/ daughter-in-law relationship.

My problem stems firstly with my need to stick to the theme of the week, and my desire not to (read: fear of) upstage (ing) the speaker of the night with my own analysis (hardly a sermon, I’d just be speaking from basically a student’s point of view)

While it’s really easy to find a simple poem on Esther to read and move on with life, the relationship between Ruth and Naomi is special, and cannot be competently expressed in cheesy vocabulary and a lilting rhythm.

That’s not to say we don’t get complex ideas and traits from Esther’s story.

But Ruth and Naomi’s relationship is blatantly so. Their relationship was forged by marriage of the latter’s son to the former. It was hardened by the loss of a husband and a son in the same person. It was developed from simply a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship to a mother/daughter relationship, colleagues, friends, even co-conspirators. They never forgot their initial roles, but they treated each other with respect according to these acquired roles, and yet recognized that there was more that one facet to their relationship.

A mother/daughter relationship forged through circumstance can be just as strong as those formed in the womb. Not to say that there would be no conflict between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, (like I’d know, lack of a bf means that a mil would be a far off thing for me) but it’s true that while your husband leaves his father’s house, so must a wife leave her birth home. In the same way that his family becomes hers, so do hers become his. Each party gains a mother and a father, and respect must be given to them as they expect respect to be given to their own.

That’s what Ruth does, even as Naomi attempts to break that bond for, as she sees it, the sake of her sons’ widows.

Naomi showed caring for her two daughters-in-law, in attempting to send them back to their homelands. Ruth showed loyalty to Naomi by vowing to stay with her, and maintaining the relationship of mother and daughter (though by marriage) that they shared until the point of the death of Naomi’s sons. We see that they are colleagues by circumstance in the deaths of their husbands. We see their friendship in that they stuck together through everything. Naomi’s caring for Ruth continued when she came up with the plan to get Boaz as Ruth’s kinship redeemer. We see Ruth’s recognition of Naomi’s authority as the elder of the two, and her trust in Naomi’s plan.

We see how obedience and trust in the experiences of elders can help prosper us. We see how mutual patience and caring for others opens doors and opportunity for us. We see the encouragement daughters can give to their mothers in times of difficulty, and we know that the reverse is possible.

We see the good in having relationships with mothers, with either our own birth mothers, or with those forged through marriage, or other circumstances.

There are bajillions of themes found in the relationship between these two. These are just a few, but I think relevant ones in the terms of mothers and Mother’s May.

– K. ~


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