Some people find it hard to express emotion. I’ve never been that way. It always made my eyes moist when I accidentally stepped on a colony of ants on the way home from school. It seems axiomatic in life that those of us who find it easy to express emotion are usually attracted to those who don’t. My wife is a stoic gal. She doesn’t waste a lot of tears on nonsense.
If you cut yourself she asks you in a disgusted tone, please to move so you won’t bleed on the carpet. It’s not that she doesn’t have a heart. She just doesn’t like to waste her emotions on trivia. I’m not maligning her character, here. I know after twenty years of marriage that many good people don’t show much emotion. She is as loyal as the day is long. She has a very acute sense of what is right and what is wrong. She makes every effort to be a functional part of society, but she doesn’t blubber all the time, like I do.
I see it like Ruth and Orpha. For the Biblically illiterate, they are major players in a little Old Testament book of the Bible called Ruth. Ruth and Orpha are Naomi’s daughters-in-law. Namomi’s sons had died and her husband had died so the three ladies had to decide what to do. Orpha fell on Naomi and kissed her. But she was kissing her goodbye. There is no record that Ruth ever wept or hugged her mother-in-law, but her loyal words are often repeated in wedding vows they are so powerful. “Wherever you go I will go. Your people will be by people. Your God will be by God.”
Ruth went with Naomi and Orpha went away, after a big emotional display. So emotions are not always a guarantee of loyalty.
One Mothers Day I wanted to give Lois a special gift, (along with the flowers and dinner she usually gets). I stayed up late one night with my guitar and wrote her a song. It was a real tear-jerker, especially when I taught her seven children to sing it. Here it is, judge for yourself.
Mom, we’ve been thinkin’ about some things
And it’s been far to long
Since we thanked you for being so good to us
That’s why we’re singin’ this song
Maybe you think that we don’t notice,
The ways that your love you show
Maybe we haven’t told you lately
But Momma we love you so.
(Girls) You share your bed when we’re sick in the night
You’re handy with fabric and thread
You curl our hair and you teach us to cook
You make us home-made bread (repeat chorus)
(Boys) You teach us to read and you wash all our clothes
You make us laugh when we’re sad
You make us pizza and hot apple pie
And spank us when we have been bad (repeat chorus big ending etc.)
Well, as you can imagine, we worked and worked until we had that baby all shined up for Mothers Day and it was a big hit down at the Grange Hall. When we sang it we all looked close at her big, warm brown eyes and we all agree, they were wet with tears.
That afternoon the kids were having a little fun with her. I heard them in the next room and listened in.
“Hey mom, I saw you cry while we were singin’ this morning.” One of them said.
“No I wasn’t”
“Yes you were, you wiped a tear from your eye,” they rejoined.
“I did not,” she said emphatically, “I had a bug in my eye.”
She doesn’t get a bug in her eye very often, but last summer when Kyle was the winning pitcher for the Fremont Little League All Star Team and went the distance and struck out twelve batters for the win, I think she had a bug in her eye then.
And the other day she got some pictures from her sister. They were old pictures of the kids from eleven years ago. The kids are so grown up now, but back then they still had their baby teeth and their baby fat and their sweet little baby faces, and I looked close and I’m pretty sure there was a bug in her eye then, too.
The one I will never forget was a couple weeks ago when she had to give her testimony at my Ordination Council. She’s never said it in so many words to me before, but she told all the people that meeting me was an answer to her childhood prayers and there is no doubt about it there were bugs running all down her face. I even had a bug in my eye that day.
I’ll take my loyal Ruth, thank you. I don’t like getting kissed goodbye.