My favorite plot line in the Pixar film Finding Nemo is the fact that Dory never leaves. Dory, a friendly blue fish with short-term memory loss, meets Marlin, a paranoid clown fish who has just lost his son at sea. Marlin is understandably distraught by this separation and is on a quest to find and rescue his son. When his path crosses with that of Dory, Marlin believes he has found a guide through the tumultuous ocean. The pair endure a series of ups-and-downs. Marlin, in his despair, grows irritated with Dory and tries to push her away on several occasions. He wants to withdraw, to go alone, to be alone. But Dory never (really) leaves.
What Marlin ultimately finds is a Ruth-like friend.
In today’s First Reading, we meet Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Naomi’s husband and son die, leaving both women as widows. In the depths of her grief, Naomi commands Ruth to leave her, to go back to her people, and to start a new life. But Ruth sees right through Naomi’s pain. She refuses to go, doubling down on her commitment to Naomi. She proclaims that Naomi is her family and that she will follow her anywhere. (See Ruth 1:16.)
Do you have a Ruth in your life? Someone who refuses to leave you when you’re down-and-out? We all experience moments of great loss, grief, despair, and disappointment. Our fallen human nature wants to recoil, to withdraw, to turn so inward that we lose sight of the Light.
We need good friends who refuse to leave us. We need good friends who will plunge into the dark depths of our seas of suffering and stay by our sides, encouraging us to just keep swimming, telling us that they will not abandon or forsake us. (See Ruth 1:1-14). We need good friends who will love us like they love themselves. (See Matthew 22: 34-40.) The Lord brings so much healing to our hearts through the fidelity of our friends. Let's pray that we can be that kind of friend, too.
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Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where the sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.