In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

from Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou

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She left the place where she had been, and her two daughters-in-law went with her. They went along the road to return to the land of Judah.

Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go, turn back, each of you to the household of your mother. May the Lord deal faithfully with you, just as you have done with the dead and with me. May the Lord provide for you so that you may find security, each woman in the household of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

But they replied to her, “No, instead we will return with you, to your people.”

Naomi replied, “Turn back, my daughters. Why would you go with me? Will there again be sons in my womb, that they would be husbands for you?”

Ruth 1:7-11

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The visual for this scene comes across so vivid in my mind. Naomi, having heard rumors that the famine in her homeland is over, decides to return home, alone. I have been on either end of a scenario like this several times. When times get tough, one way to respond is to go out on our own, leaving behind friends, family, and God, trying to survive by ourselves. Similarly, I have been like the daughters-in-law, trying to hold on to the person trying to cut loose and be on their own.

While there are many situations where ties should be permanently cut, especially abusive or toxic relationships, God's desire is for human beings to live in harmony together. We should be willing to ask each other for help when the time arises, just as we should be attuned to the needs of those around us, so we are better able to offer help. When we just feel like cutting ties and going it alone, may God help us to return to relationships and to find solace in the presence of God and each other.

Will Oxford

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God, thank you for your never-ending love. It is there even when it’s the furthest thing from my mind. Whether I’m running away from it or running back to it, your love is the same distance away. Amen.

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Thérèse of Lisieux, a young French Carmelite nun of the 19th century, wrote:

"My vocation is love! In the heart of the Church, who is my Mother, I will be love. So I shall be everything and so my dreams will be fulfilled — ​to make Love loved."

May we be love. May our lives be portraits of love.

Will Oxford

Will Oxford currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife Heidi Thorsen and their two beautiful cats. As a native North Carolinian, Will spends much of his time yearning for sweet tea, mountains, and barbecue, and teaching folks the correct pronunciation of Appalachia.

It Is Well With My Soul

Jim McConnell

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