...in the march toward tomorrow
Now, let's see. Where did I leave off before encountering major technical problems with this site a week ago? (All of which have been resolved, hopefully, with the purchase of my own domain for publishing The Wright Slant). Oh yes, a couple of other things I wanted to touch on before closing off on the subject of "letting go of the past", as referenced several items ago.
I am the first to concede that it is very easy to get wrapped up in memories. Good or bad, we tend to cling to thoughts of the past despite the danger of being left behind in the march toward tomorrow. As a nostalgia buff and sentimentalist I have developed a rule of thumb whereby I consciously try to balance periodic reflective moods by allotting equal time to forward thinking.
Perhaps the earliest recorded lesson on the folly of looking back is the very brief and sad biblical story of Lot's wife, found in the first Book of Moses called Genesis (19). "Flee!" the angel had cried. "For this place called Sodom has become abominable in the eyes of God. Shortly He will destroy it. But because you have been righteous, you will be spared if you escape while there is yet time. Go...Go quickly...And do not look back!" So they fled leaving behind them the roaring thunder, the heaving earth and the lightning that rained fire. With each blast Sodom crumbled -- a city wiped out as though by an angry hand.
Those who fled the devastation had no eyes for the terrible sight. Safety and escape were their sole concerns. Lot's wife was the exception. She alone, went slowly, reluctantly. Safety ahead? A new start in a better place? These facts her mind admitted, but her heart yearned desperately for the home she left behind, the old happiness. She heard the angel's warning: "Do not look back!" But what did even an angel know of a woman's heart? And how could she go on when all that made living worthwhile lay behind her in that crashing hell? If only she could see it once more. Just once.
Frantically Lot's wife turned. Husband and children were forgotten. Likewise that promised home ahead, the chance of new peace and happiness and pride. Through scalding tears her heart went yearning back. Then all went black and that which was a living woman had become a pillar of salt. The message in that grave illustration is quite clear: The future, a new chance, is open to everyone; but to seize the opportunity one must forget the past and commit fully to that new beginning, or direction.
Tragedy, death and upheaval affect all of our lives. At various stages we find ourselves looking back on the "good old days" as wistfully as Lot's wife looked on her ruined Sodom. But we cannot bring back the past, so we might as well embrace the future. We can take control of our lives by putting dead delights and regrets behind us. We can wipe our tear-blinded eyes, move grief-numbed feet, lift a paralyzed heart -- forget personal failures. Zest for life can be restored if only we have faith to give ourselves a chance...And, philosophically speaking, never look back!