There’s a song I know. Bradley Hathaway does it on his new EP A Thousand Angry Panthers. It’s track one. “She was raised by a man with a sickness.” The review I linked to up there says that it’s got a tendency for duality and drama, but I like it just the same.
In so many ways, I am that girl. I am a scared little child who lives in dreamland stories and fantasy worlds, hiding behind towers and castles full of locked doors and hidden memories. The song begins: “she was raised by a man with a sickness that gave him two personalities, but he never took no medicine…” Reminds me of my dad sometimes. My dad, still scarred from his childhood and his dad. Or at least that’s what my pocket psychology text would say. Freud and Bandura would both agree. This is why I give him mental allowance when he goes off the deep end most of the time. I can’t imagine what it was like for him growing up under a dictatorship, both in the nation and at home. I don’t want to imagine it. I don’t want to get into it, and I don’t want to write anything more specific, for tact and trust.
But what does this have to do with Ruth? When I first started to study Ruth in July, I remember reading chapter one on biblegateway.com in the NIV translation. I was so struck by Ruth’s dedication to Naomi that I cried.
When Naomi’s sons died, she urged their wives to go back home, but Ruth refused. She said, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. 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 anything but death separates you and me.”
I read that passage and I cried for nearly twenty minutes thinking, “God, if I’m like Ruth, am I really that dedicated? I know I’m not so strong. There must have been an error in translation here, because look at Ruth–she’s so brave and so determined and so dedicated.”
Flash forward a month and a half to tonight. I’m sitting in bed, but about an hour ago, I was laying in bed, making up stories that would put me on Doctor Who’s Tardis and take me far away from here. It’s been tense the past few days in the house, and one gets exhausted from trying to put together the pieces with masking tape and tacky glue.
And then I said, “God, I keep trying to remove myself mentally from everything, and that’s not like Ruth at all. I need to be in this, and I need your help to fix this. He is my father, and she is my mother. I want to be as dedicated to them as Ruth was to Naomi.”
There’s another song I know. This one’s called “Sun Down” by a piano duo who called themselves Iver (they’ve since broken up). As much as I am the girl who was raised by a man, with God and Ruth on my side, I will become that kind of girl talked of so lovingly in this song.
End Note: Bradley Hathaway is one of my favorite word artists ever. I met him once for like, 10 minutes, and it changed my life. I wish I could post a link to his song, but I couldn’t find it on youtube, and beyond youtube, I do not roam in search of music. You’ll just have to buy the EP on itunes or something. It’s worthwile. Here’s another video of him instead.