I get aha moments from everywhere. Especially when I read and let my imagination take me to new places. I was reading the book of Ruth in the Bible. The Book of Ruth is full of beautiful moments of love, devotion, perseverance, sacrifice, saving grace, and even a touch of falling in love. Lots to learn from those written about in that book: Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. Short synopsis: Naomi's husband and two sons died suddenly. Ruth was Naomi's daughter-in-law. Naomi wanted to move back to her family home in Bethlehem from Moab. Ruth determined to say with Naomi. So they went to Bethlehem where Naomi was welcomed back. I won't ruin the whole story about how Ruth and Boaz hooked up. That was history in the making since they are King David's grandparents.
What stuck out to me most in reading just the first chapter was the one sentence of, "Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem." Have you ever looked at a map of the Middle East? Find the Dead Sea. On one side is Moab, the other side Bethlehem. Those two women had to travel by land or by sea to get there. A few thousand years ago. Without cell phones. Without rest stops. Without credit cards. Without shopping centers along the way. There would have been a nomadic trader caravan or two pass by. But these two women were on their own in a virtual wilderness. Traveling over mountains, through valleys, in the heat, with wild animals. This is was not a day trip to the outlet mall. This was hard. And let me point out again - two WOMEN. Which, back in the day, women were not treated all that well in society. To be traveling alone was not only hard, but dangerous beyond our modern imaginations. Yet, the writer of the book of Ruth simply put, "Now the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem."
How often in our own lives do we look back in the story in our head and summarize to others, "I just did ____" What about the award winning actor that seemed to appear on the screens overnight? "I just auditioned." But they leave out the hours of painstaking practice to learn lines, to open themselves up to being "in character" all the while fighting their own struggles of living paycheck-to-paycheck to support their family. What about the superstar athlete like Michael Jordan. He switched from basketball to baseball and back to basketball. The critics snubbed his baseball career. But they didn't see he was first on the field and last out. They didn't see the extra time he had the coaches work with him on getting better. They didn't see his personal regiment to do what he loved to do in honor of his dad. And what about a missionary like Rachel Ross, founder of Forget-Me-Not Ministries in Romania? Not many people know of the inner workings of saving kids from abusive situations on the road to affecting a culture to change.
When I recently filled out an award application, I listed things that I had accomplished like writing my firs published book, "The No Rules Way." No one knew the long nights and tedious editing process, or the research, or the conversations it took to get the words on paper. When I wrote down on the application about the growth of my business, Arkham Executive, no one knows about the sacrifices I've made to make it happen.
All this is why stories are so important. And why fandoms are so fantastic (saving that for another posting). The stories we share are vital for growth and connection. Stories help us to paint a complete picture in our minds. Stories bring someone else's experience to life for us. Those two women, Naomi & Ruth, faced a lot of hardship through the mountainous terrain to get to Bethlehem shared their story for generations to come. Who knows, they may have inspired David in some of his own writings. I know they inspired me to write this thought out ;-).