Ruthie Leming: At Home in the World

Ruthie’s life and death showed me the deep practical wisdom taught by the early Christian father Benedict: We need the discipline of stability in place, and in community, to become who God wants us to be.

BY: Rod Dreher

 

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So many of us modern Americans are gyrovagues. And we know it. When my wife and I told our Philly friends we were moving to Louisiana, we thought they would tease us for leaving the big city for a town of 1,700 souls. In fact, all of them understood, and many were envious that we had an ancestral village to return to. Most were raised by parents who moved from city to city, chasing jobs and the American dream. They were homeless.

To be sure, I don’t regret having left home as a teenager. God called me into the world, I believe, and I am grateful for what He showed me there. But he also called me back home, to help care for my aging parents, and to claim my roots after all these years of wandering.

Not everyone should stay in their hometown, or should return, even if they can. But shouldn’t we be more skeptical about the restlessness that we accept as a normal part of modern American life? Our culture tells us mobility is a sign of our freedom. But it can also be a trap that leads to spiritual starvation.

Ruthie’s life and death showed me the deep practical wisdom taught by the early Christian father Benedict: We need the discipline of stability in place, and in community, to become who God wants us to be.

Rod Dreher is a Beliefnet columnist and the author of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, which has just been published by Grand Central. Follow him on Twitter @roddreher, or connect with him at the Rod Dreher fan page on Facebook.

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