Friday, March 22, 2013
In a Distant Land
"We are far from our Home, far from our Father's house."
Ruth bowed her head as she listened to the words, words that echoed through the long years they'd lived here.
"We are home," she thought. "This is my father's house."
Her lips twitched slightly thinking what the others would say if they could hear her thoughts.
She looked up and caught her mother, Anna, watching her across the table. She schooled her face back into solemnity under her mother's gaze. Her obedience was rewarded by a slight nod.
"The sun that warmed our ancient land is a star that shines yet in our nights, the candle in the darkness calling to mind the light of the One who chose us."
Heads nodded around the table and a quiet murmur of assent arose here and there from the group.
The life within her moved and Ruth placed her hand on her belly. She smiled softly and caught her mother's matching smile. Ruth searched her mother's face. The fear that news of her pregnancy had awoken there had receded, subdued by the initial findings.
It was hard-won knowledge. The early histories told of heartache, of horror. Not enough had been known of the air here, the water here, the food they grew here. Enough to sustain life, yes.
But for new life to birth here, so far from where humans had first seen the light, much more needed to be learned.
That learning brought pain, brought death, brought an evil from within their hearts that burned away many of their number before it burned itself out.
They came together, held to who they were, learned what they needed to do to survive. Thus it had always been through the long years of their people.
Ruth looked again at her mother. The fear wasn't completely gone. That would not happen until the birth, until her child was examined and pronounced hale and whole.
Ruth smiled to herself as the celebration of life continued around her. Her mother would find other things to worry her then.
She, herself, was not afraid. Feeling the life move beneath her hand, Ruth knew her child would be found hale and whole.
This was their home now. Their long journey had led them here. Where they had come from was a distant place, only known in story, no longer in the memory of even the oldest of them.
Here was their home. Her child would be hale and whole, and human.