Redeeming Ruth: WOW!!!
It's time for a book review and boy, do I have a great one for you today. It isn't an adventure like I usually do, but it is a journey. A journey that no mother should ever have to go through.
I met Meadow, the author of today's pick at a ladies Christian writing workshop, The Art and Joy of Words she was hosting on the cost of Maine, way before my first title, Happy Hiking was even a completed rough draft. Elaine, my editor invited me to go. Not one to splurge on another get-away by myself and leave hubby home to hold down the fort, we decided if Elaine thought it would be good for me, then I should go. I already had a six-month hiatus and didn't want to take advantage of Bruce's generosity. But was one of the best decisions for my budding writing hobby.
The tips, tricks, and encouragement I gained from that weekend are what sling-shotted my drive to not just want to write a book, but to actually do it. It wasn't just the mechanics of the nitty-gritty on writing that sticks with me today, it is all the intangibles. In fact, very little how-to's were discussed. It was a weekend of like minded women writers who were all on different paths, with different stories, and over coming different struggles. Our sharing brought us together, lifted each of us up, and gave us what we needed to take that next step, whatever it was for each individual. For me, it was that my story was worth telling.
While I fell in love with all the ladies in attendance, there was something about Meadow that captured my heart. I don't know if it was her kind soul, her openness, or her genuine hospitality, but there was something special about her and what she had to offer. I wasn't too good at remembering details about most of the ladies. I was just in awe and truly felt unworthy to be in the presence of who I thought were talented women way above my pay-grade.
Throughout the weekend we all shared our works in progress. Meadow had briefly touched on her book, Redeeming Ruth. I was totally self-absorbed at not busting at the seems with excitement just to be there, I didn't retain too much about everyone else, so I forgot most of what everyone had shared. Several years later, this past fall, Meadow went on her own little get-away writing retreat at the Cold Stream Inn. I was thrilled. This place is just a few miles from where I live. I connected with Meadow who was also thrilled to learn I lived close by.
Meadow was just like I remembered her; kind, thoughtful, funny, gracious, and oh so humble. This time we swapped books. We chatted for a couple hours that seemed like only a few minutes. We wanted more time together. We left with the idea of hosting a second Art and Joy of Words writing retreat at the inn. As usual, life gets in the way and our communication waned as the holidays approached then the new year. We did keep in touch just enough to make plans for a retreat in June.
Meadow's Book, Redeeming Ruth, sat on my "next up to read" shelf all winter until four days ago. I decided to read instead of watching some stupid show on Amazon Prime. I didn't want to put it down, but I had to if I wanted to get any sleep. The next night was a typical sleepless night, so I sat in bed and continued the story Meadow so brilliantly crafted. But with a pain so deep she wanted to swallow razorblades, I am sure details were easy to recall. At 4:00am I forced myself to close the book and try to sleep.
After a busy day, I sat in the chair beside the fire place with hot flames warming me, I opened Redeeming Ruth for the final pages. Meadow's story takes you on her journey of adopting a child from Africa who has cerebral palsy and all the challenges that she must over come to do so. In the beginning pages her self-sacrifice had me questioning my own selfishness and thinking how horrible I must be. I could never ever give up or go through the hoops that Meadow and her family did for another person. At first I was honestly not liking the book because how guilty it made me feel. But sometimes the truth hurts and I realized that even though this book has a tragic ending - sorry, spoiler alert - Meadow challenges all of us to just love to the best of our ability and when you think you can't love any more, God will give you what you need to love even harder.
My heart broke for the Meadow family in what they went through, but beneath all that hurt is joy, happiness and the love of God that continues to heal them. As I finished up the final pages of the book, Meadow went on the explain the underlying complication that caused Ruth's death. It was reading that medical condition that had the tears running down my face. A wave a gratitude flooded my heart. You see, our first born son, Stephen had complications when he was born, but since we live in a country with advanced medical care, what could cause CP or even be fatal somewhere else, was an easy fix here. It was that same problem that affected precious Ruth, but hers went undetected.
As I was overwhelmed with a mix of oh my, this could have happened to Stephen, to I am so thankful Stephen is alive and well, Stephen walked down the stairs. I wanted to race to him and smother him with hugs and kisses, just what every 28 year old man wants from his mom. Instead, I fought back the erge with every muscle in my body and spoke in a controlled tone, "There's my miracle baby." That was tolerated, a phrase I have used in the past since I did have bladder cancer when I was pregnant with him. He probably figured I was just referring to the cancer thing. But in my heart, thanks to reading Redeeming Ruth , I have even more to be thankful for.
Please pick up a copy of Redeeming Ruth, In fact, by two, one to keep and one to give away. All the proceeds will benefit orphans and people with disabilities in Uganda. Your heart will break. You will question your own power to love. You will cry. But you will also smile and laugh knowing that we all have struggles and you can get through them.
Thank you Meadow for being brave and sharing your most deepest pain through love and loss with us so we can love more deeply too.