Friday, August 8, 2008

The Set of the Sail

“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her.” (Ruth 1:14)

        Both of these Moabite girls (Orpah and Ruth) loved their mother-in-law, Naomi. Instead of returning to their own families after the death of their husbands, they had chosen instead to accompany her back to her home in Bethlehem-Judah. Naomi discouraged such a move, however, explaining that there was no future there for them.

        At one point, both girls, overcome with emotion, burst into tears at the prospect of having to leave Naomi. Finally, Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but it was a good-bye kiss. She had decided not to go, after all. She would not leave her people or her gods. Ruth, on the other hand, offered no kiss. Instead, she remained with her mother-in-law. One kissed and one clave. Both girls loved, but only one remained; both were moved emotionally; but only one had the resolve to act upon it.

        The winds of adversity and loss came to both girls, but it was their individual reaction to those winds that determined their destinations, and, as it turned out, their destinies.


                                             The Winds of Fate

                           One ship drives east and another drives west

                           With the selfsame winds that blow.

                           ‘Tis the set of the sails

                           And not the gales

                           That tells the way to go.


                           Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,

                           As we voyage along through life:

                           ‘Tis the set of the soul

                           That decides its goal,

                           And not the calm or the strife.

                                                                           ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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