Julia T. Cadenhead
CAPT CHC USN (Ret.)
So much of our contemporary world is cosmetic. I don’t just mean lipstick, makeup, and style. Sometimes cosmetics are about cleaning up after ourselves; about dumb stuff we do. And once in a while, we face the aftermath of having made a big, ugly mistake that hurts not only us but others close to us. Been there, yet?
Consider the woman who was turned into a pillar of salt. Scary, yep. So? As she was fleeing from her hometown with her family, she was told not to look back. She did. She turned herself into a statue – of salt. Humph. I’ve felt like that at times in my past. Frozen. Motionless. Done. Not alive. No future.
What do you know about the apocryphal story of the young girl who was offered a high honor in her society? Beautiful. Virginal. She was the consummate vision of pure, young beauty. And, was derailed when the Moabite high priest discovered a blemish on her body.
It rendered her completely unworthy to be sacrificed to the pagan gods. She was turned away from their temple in disgrace. Want to know this girl’s name? She did not die. She grew into adulthood. Ruth. The same Ruth who survived to join the lineage of King David and is ultimately found in the lineage of Jesus, the Christ.
This isn’t a story about a zit on her face, my friends. This is the story of a world that came crashing down only to be raised up to an entirely different and blessed future. Sounds glamorous and simple. It wasn’t. There were years of growing, maturing into adulthood, leaving home, going out on her own – even the loss of a husband.
I think most of us can see a bit of ourselves in both of these women. We may be frail creatures of dust. We make mistakes. But with some emotional mortar and a few bricks of self-will, we can raise up above the fear and self-critical cosmetics of our day. Modify the wishful thinking. Embrace the work of becoming a sturdy self. And with the support of the Good Lord, Almighty, appropriately and rightfully share in becoming your better self.