“Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die—there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!” When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her. (Ruth 1:16-18 NRSV)
Webster’s Dictionary defines caring as “showing kindness and concern for someone or something. In the Book of Ruth there are several examples of caring relationships. One of those caring relationships depicted in Ruth is the Mother-in-law to daughter-in-law relationship. The above verses are some of the most moving verses that express how much one person can care for another. Due to extreme circumstances, Ruth, might seem to have no other choice than to follow Naomi wherever she goes, live where she lives, die and be buried with her. We all know from our own experiences that we always have choices. Ruth makes the above-mentioned choices because she loves and cares for Naomi.
This is a type of caring we do not see in this day and age. I sometimes wonder how much better a married couple might be if there was a relationship like Ruth and Naomi’s, if more mothers-in-law got along better with their daughters-in law; but we have become a me-first society. In the story Ruth shows what a real love means. I am sure some of what she did she did out of necessity and survival, but the relationship between Ruth and Naomi is one that is used by many as a prime example of what a caring relationship between two women should be.
What might our present-day relationships between women, who are so important to the family dynamics, look like? Well, we do not have to go too far to know, because we have Ruth and Naomi to show us. Ruth accepts not only Naomi’s people but also Naomi’s God, the God of the Israelites. Today, when the relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law are so contentious, we find Ruth and Naomi in a loving and caring relationship more far-reaching than we can imagine. There is no greater homage than to choose another’s God and Ruth does just that.
Through the example of Ruth, I ask that during this month we pay special attention to our caring relationships and use the one that existed between Ruth and Naomi as our guiding light.