Sunday, 22 July 2012
Whither thou goest . . .
I believe that the loveliest of words ever spoken from one woman to another were the words which Ruth spoke to her mother-in-law Naomi . . . words spoken after her husband (Naomi's son) had died and whilst Naomi was preparing to return to her own country.
"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave theee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me."
These were not words spoken in that first happy flush of the newly-wed getting to know you stage . . . but after ten years of the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship. These are words which should be read at every wedding service I think . . . when you marry someone, you are not just marrying one person . . . but you are marrying a family, and I believe it is so very important to the success of your relationship that you are able to get along with and love your partner's family as you would your own.
I have had three mothers-in-law in my lifetime. ( I wish that I didn't have to say that and I could say that I have only ever had one, but alas . . . I cannot.) My first mother-in-law was a farmer's wife and I was rather in awe of her and all that she did. Lois was a wonderful example to me of a woman who was always ready and willing to get stuck in to anything. Cow's broken out of the pasture and wandering through the neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning?? Not a problem! She'd be up and out there gathering them in right along side of my father-in-law and ex husband. Able to create a beautifully edible feast out of the simplest of ingredients, I learned a lot about cooking from her and about being frugal. Nothing frazzled her . . .
unexpected company . . . just put another plate out
putting up jams and preserves, pickles and such from the years harvest . . . always enjoyed
keeping the farm accounts . . . just a part of her life
creating beautiful quilts and rag rugs out of scraps and old clothing . . . one of her talents
having to bury your husband at a fairly young age . . . not what she chose, but she was strong enough to do it and still carry on.
I learned much from her. Skills and habits that I still uphold today. She is still alive and in her 90's now. She had two family's really. There were an older three children, which were more my parents age . . . and then two younger boys, which were my age. She never ever had a real holiday, or travelled very far from where she lived and still lives. I have many fond memories of my times spent with her and I value all that she taught me.
My second mother-in-law was every bit as valuable to me. Of course she was my mother-in-law for an awful lot longer than the first one was. Twenty two years is a long time . . . and we always had a really wonderful relationship. From the very first she always made me very welcome in her home. We shared a great love of scrapbooking and old films. Whenever we would be on the Island visiting, the men would go off and do their thing, and she and I would do ours. I loved to look through her scrapbooks. She had quite a few of them. Into them she would put newspaper clippings of interesting articles gleaned from the daily papers, and weekly community papers. They may have been pertaining to health or to historical happenings, etc. There would be lovely little souveniers gleaned from things she had done or places she had gone. Perhaps a lovely gift tag from something she had been given, etc. They were quite wonderful and whoever inherits them is inheriting a wonderful legacy. She lived for years with a man who never had a kind word to say to her or about her, especially in his later years, and yet she never complained or had an unkind word to say about him . . . not while he was alive, and not after he had passed away. She was a wonderful example to me of loyalty and service . . . and selfless love. Even though her son and I have been divorced some 14 years now . . . I still miss her. She was more than a mother-in-law to me . . . she was a friend.
I never knew Todd's mum. She had passed away long before I met Todd and we got married . . . but I feel that I know a lot of her from the things he has told me about her, and from knowing and loving the man that he is. I know that during the war, she took very good care of him . . . and she lived with her parents in a place that she felt he would be safe. That could not have been easy. Her husband was away at war, just a short year after they married and they were not together again for another seven years . . . and yet she remained faithful to him in every way, and once travelled from Hornchurch in Essex by train all the way up to Scotland . . . with a wee babe in arms and on her own, just because he was there and she wanted to see him and show him their son. That must have been very frightening and she must have been a very brave woman. I know that she was very thrifty and frugal and that she took very good care of her husband and two sons . . . on a window washer's wages . . . She too, never ever had a real holiday or travelled very far from her home or her roots, except for that one trip to Scotland in her younger years, and a few days out to South End. I may have never met her in person, but her son is a good man . . . decent, hard working, kind and compassionate, intelligent and witty . . . and I know she played a part in helping him to become that man. How can I not love her too??
I know nothing of the type of mother-in-law that would inspire those horrible mother-in-law jokes that you hear at times. My mothers-in-law have always been really special to me, and I have always valued my relationships with them. I can only hope that am as good a mother-in-law to my children's partners as I have had in them . . . and that they would value me as much as I have valued mine.
I love the words of Ruth. They speak to my heart in a beautiful and meaningful way. That is the power and the worth of scripture. It should speak to your heart . . . it should make a difference in how you think and how you do . . . it should enrich your life in every way.
Just my thoughts this morning . . . I wish for you a blessed sabbath. Wherever you are and whatever you may do today, may your day be a special one.
“...love...it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our church callings, and our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities and nations. love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.”
~President Dieter F Uchtdorf
Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Praline Topped Coffee and Pecan Cupcakes!