Life’s a Mystery: The Truth Story of Aunt Ruth

by Andy Wood on November 2, 2009

in Uncategorized

Aunt Ruth 2Aunt Ruth was neither my aunt, nor was she named “Ruth.”  Through a set of circumstances I don’t have time to relate, “Aunt Ruth” was what I wound up calling her. 

Aunt Ruth had eyes that danced long after her feet were unable to.  She defied aging – said she didn’t have time or sense enough to grow old.  She detested religiosity and people who took themselves too seriously.  “Fuddy Duddy Christians,” she called them.  Aunt Ruth was wise.  Through her sometimes-sharp exterior, she loved me.  And she taught me one of the most important lessons I ever learned. 

“Life’s full of mysteries,” Aunt Ruth said.  In fact, she said it a lot.  Aunt Ruth loved mysteries.  Not the murder-type, but those principles in life that defy logic.  It always amused her to get me in an argumentative mode and throw out one of her “mysteries.”  

Like the time I was angry because someone had been spreading lies about me.  “I’m gonna find out who started it, and set them straight!” I informed her.  

“Forget it,” Aunt Ruth said.  “Get to the bottom of it, and all you get is some stirred up mud and a mad catfish.” 

 “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked. 

“It’s a mystery,” she said, as she went back to puttering in the kitchen. 

“Whatcha preaching about these days?” Aunt Ruth asked one day.  “The cross, and what led up to it,” I answered.  “Last Sunday I preached on Judas.”

“Best friend Jesus had,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Friend!  You’re nuts!”  (There weren’t many people I could talk to like that.  Aunt Ruth was one of ‘em.)  “You can’t tell me that somebody who stole from the pot, loved money, gave his Messiah away, and committed suicide was a friend of Jesus!”

“Sure he was,” she said.  (Her eyes were starting to dance.)  “Only a friend can betray a friend.  If he wasn’t Jesus’ friend, then what he did wasn’t betrayal.”  I just looked at her, dumbfounded.  “It’s a mystery,” she said.

“This week’s on Peter.”

“I’ll bet you’re going to say that Peter really didn’t love Jesus, or he wouldn’t have denied Him.”

“Well, what should I say?” I asked impatiently.

“Don’t ask me!  I ain’t no preacher!” Aunt Ruth retorted.  “But I will tell you this:  You only hurt the people you love.  And you are only hurt by them.”

“Let me guess.  That’s a mystery, too.”

“Bible’s full of ‘em.  The ones who receive are the ones who give.  The way to be great is to be a servant.  And the only people who are treated cruelly are those who don’t deserve it.”

“How’d you get so smart?” I wanted to know.

“Oh, I ain’t smart,” she snorted.  “I just decided a long time ago to quit asking God, `Why?’ and to quit trying to figure everything and everybody out.  I learned to trust the good Lord with what I don’t understand.  And I decided that what makes sense to me is almost always the opposite of what is.  All you preacher boys think you’re supposed to know everything there is to know.  Well, let me tell you something.  The more you think you know, the less you really do.  And about the time you think you don’t know nothing, you’re just about to learn something.”

“Huh?  What’s that got to do with Judas and Peter?

“It’s a mystery,” she said. 

Her eyes were still dancing.

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