So, there I was, pre-engaged. Betrothed. I refused to say “engaged” because that would suggest I was a party to the act. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When I should’ve been praying to ask God to make my heart right with these decisions being made for me, I was asking God to get me out and show me a way to avoid it all.
My goal was to graduate high school. When I told my mother that, she made sure my home school curriculum was first priority – just to get it out of the way and give me less of an excuse. When I told my mom I didn’t like the boy ‘that way’ – she thought she’d help me by having me spend time with his family. When that didn’t work – I was sent away. I was sent to work in the offices of the movement. During that time, all ties were cut for me. I was only allowed to get one letter a week from my “betrothed” and one phone call from my parents. Both of these were pre-read and listened to. I was kept, doing church related tasks, busy for three months.
When I had been beated down (emotionally and spiritually), I was allowed to go home. The very next day, my dad invited Adam to come help with a project we were doing. He was bringing another brother as a chaperone. I knew the question was coming and the question was going to be the catalyst to change in my life.
I was right.
Adam came into our home and went straight to the backyard to discuss something with my father. I tried to look small and invisible. After dinner, Adam publicly asked my father if two of my siblings would accompany us on a walk. We walked down the street until we got to a fence gate. At the gate, Aaron dropped on one knee and read me a scripture passage. He pulled a small box from his coat and presented me with a diamond ring.
The world started swimming. I have never felt more claustrophobic in my life. My sister stepped up to hold my shaking hand as he put the ring on – because I hadn’t verbally agreed to anything. Somehow or another, we ended up back in the house and a party was being amped up. Dad was taking photos and Mom was calling friends to tell them to save a date for a wedding. All this and I haven’t said yes. I went to the bathroom and tried to hide, but Adam used our lockless doors against us and he forced my sister in through the door to tell me to return to the party. Inside I was screaming that I hadn’t agreed to be his wife and yet there were dates being tossed around.
People were planning a wedding around me. The wedding was a go and the bride was a no. I was in a daze but through the daze I knew that it was time for me to leave. After the hubbub died down, and people were leaving, Adam took me outside by the hand for a “talk”. During the talk, I tried bargaining. I told him I might marry him if he would be okay with my staying in school and going for an advanced education. He was visibly uncomfortable. He said that he thought I was in line with the teachings of our fathers and God’s commandment for us. I told him I might be, I wasn’t sure, and that I needed time to seek out an answer. I also told him that IF we got married, I would NEED to have something that was just mine in our life (a job, a hobby, or the ability to further my education). I thought, maybe for a moment, that he was thinking about what I’d said because he got quiet. I wrongfully thought that meant he was considering some of what I said. Well, maybe he was, but not in the way I thought.
He grabbed my arm forcibly and said, “YOU is no longer YOU. YOUR WORLD IS ME NOW.” He quoted scripture at me and jammed my hands into my chest. He told me to get right with the Lord and see him for the prize he was. He had a house for us. He had a job. He was next in line for a political fortune (supposedly) and I “could have it all” just by marrying him and “Learning to love him.” I just cried – what else could I do? As I was trying to walk away, he spun me around by jerking my arm and pinned me to the fence. I won’t repeat what he said, but he grabbed my rear-end and said, “Yummmm…Ruth. Don’t lose any weight between now and the wedding.”
I went to my mother and told her what had went down outside. She insisted I must’ve misunderstood and went to get my dad. My dad was ambivalent. He insisted that I had misunderstood and then suggested that every woman enjoys it when a man pays you a sexual compliment.
That night – after everyone had gone to bed– I started grabbing clothes. I had no idea where I was going or what it even meant to get out of the family but something told me I had to go. I prayed to God to give me a sign to go. An hour later, I noticed a light go on at the neighbor’s house across the field. I wasn’t thinking very far ahead – I had just asked God to give me a place to run – a sign to go – anything. The light. I ran across the field with only what I could carry.
The 49 Character Qualities of Ruth by RazingRuth:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23