Monday, August 1, 2016

Ruined (Book Review)

Lately, I've craved sentences. As a voracious reader, I absorb large quantities of words, words by the gallon, the bucket, the ocean. However, in the present time of my life, I long for and adore simple sentences. Literally, I'm looking for something that could tattooed on the top of my foot.

Ruth Huizenga Eberhart has just such a sentence. In the middle of Ruinedher 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. 


The fall is a more universal theme, because so few lack the language for expressing restoration, for understanding it, for believing it is possible. When Ruth eventually takes proactive steps to avoid being forever terrified of men who resemble her attackers, my eyes were so wide. Living day after day is surprising after a horror or a tragedy, but it happens. One hardly believes one can keep breathing. Attempting to keep something "normal" is brave. Ruth is very brave. 

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. 

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