Do you know the story of Lot’s wife?
It is messed up.
God sends his angels to Sodom and says if they can find fifty righteous men, he won’t destroy the city.
But they do find Lot. They’re meant to stay with him. He’s a righteous man.
And when they’re at Lot’s house, a gang of men come knocking because they want to knock boots with these beautiful strangers.
They say “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”
(“Know them” in the biblical sense.)
And Lot declines to send his visitors out into the crowd to be violated. ‘Cuz he’s all righteous like that.
Instead Lot makes the ravening horde an offer. “I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing…”
Like I said, Lot’s a righteous man and a protective host. He’ll offer up his virgin daughters to gang-rape to save his visitors. Because that’s what virtuous, hospitable men do.
(Side note: if Lot was the most righteous man in Sodom, Sodom really must have been wicked.)
Anyhoo. Long story short, Lot is instructed to gather up his family and get thee to walking. And don’t look back.
And God burns Sodom and everyone in it to the ground.
Lot’s wife, though – funny that she has no name – looks back, and turns into a pillar of salt.
(And then Lot and his daughters go live in a cave and apparently *they* get him drunk and seduce him so that they can have children. Because they’re living in a cave where the dating pool is pretty shallow and they’re worried about being old ladies with cats living with their father.)
(And yeah right. *They* seduced him. ‘Cuz he’s a righteous man, y’all.)
No matter what I think of this story – I’m having a real struggle reconciling my love for God with the misogyny of The Bible – there’s at least half a lesson here.
The demi-lesson? No looking back, dear reader.
Except that looking back isn’t necessarily the problem. There’s a lot you can learn from examining the patterns of your past.
But there’s no going back.
Return is a fantasy.
When Dorothy clicks her red heels three times and says “There’s no place like home!”, it isn’t really about going back. It is about appreciating what you have.
Same with It’s a Wonderful Life: when George Bailey walks back into his living room full of family and friends, he’s overwhelmed by how blessed he is. He appreciates what he has.
But George and Dorothy never really return to their old lives. They’re changed, which means everything has changed.
It’s like that with life, too.
Often, when we’re going through tumultuous times, we want to return. Go back. We want everything to be like it was.
We want to feel the love we felt before the fight or the drama or the cataclysmic betrayal.
We want to return to mundane rapture of what came before the diagnosis.
But because of those defining moments, there is no going back. Only forward, into what will come. And that will be beautiful too, if you start looking forward to it…
instead of going back.