Ruth Huizenga Eberhart has just such a sentence. In the middle of Ruined, her wrenching memoir of rape and spiritual agony, she writes, "The fall is a more universal theme than restoration."
The fall is a more universal theme than restoration.
Maybe I don't want that exactly inked into my skin, but its message is indelible. So was the four hour encounter in Ruth's 20th year shaped everything that came after it. As it so often does, the will of neighbor- his or her poor choice- causes a crisis when one has to examine where that choice intersects with the will of God.
Ruth's rape, the aftermath, her relationships- all of these things intertwine with her pain, her grief, and her questioning about the God about whom she'd taught and the God she was actually encountering in silence and in space. Her lyrical writing, sometimes a little slowly paced, allows the reader to realize that God's silence is not always a big NO, but an invitation into a smaller, yet more spacious yes.
Grace is more than forgiveness; grace says that it’s all right to need forgiveness in the first place. It’s all right to be imperfect, to intend well and mess up. To try again. Grace is getting a do-over.
Actively seeking to change something within yourself is courageous. Ruth is incredibly courageous. Her courage is not just evident in how she learns to view herself through God's understanding, but even more so in how she comes to see her experiences through God, divine mystery, and love.
The fall is a more universal theme, but I believe it is only because we actually crave the stories of restoration. We long for the redemption narrative. We want to see it come out all right. This is because, in our hearts, we know our own falls and faults and we long to know that we too will sing restoration songs.
I received a copy of this book for an honest review. My honest recommendation is that this book is completely worth your time and effort.