But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Recently, I visited my family’s coastal hometown in South Georgia and while there I stopped by my grandparents’ house. Over the years, I have driven by the house and looked at it, but I have not been inside since the day of my grandfather’s funeral 25 years ago. He had been preceded in death by my grandmother just 2 years earlier. I often dream of being in that house, but in 25 years I had not set foot inside. But on this visit I went in, and boy did the memories start coming back.
It’s not a big house: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a kitchen, living room, dining room, den, front porch and a screened-in back porch. Yet, it seemed that tiny house held hundreds of people no matter the occasion! I remember the Spades and Dominoes games on the back porch with my cousins, while my grandma and the other women boiled the crabs in the kitchen. Grandaddy and the men would be in the den watching TV. Guests were in and out all day from sunup to sundown. I remember sitting on the front porch on my grandma’s lap as she received guests all day long seeming to know everyone. It is amazing that a house that small was the center of so much activity. Good times!
As I drove around town, even more memories came back of places where I used to spend time. Back at my uncle’s house, I began looking through old photo albums with my sister and even more memories came flooding back. The longer I was there, the further I went (in the words of Minnie Ripperton) back down memory lane!
I missed my childhood.
I missed my family, both living and dead.
I wanted to go back.
But I had to remind myself…those days are over.
When revisiting the past, there is always a temptation to stay, regardless if the memories are good or bad. However, looking back too long is a trap that prevents us from moving forward. We get stuck on what could or should have been rather than moving forward with what is. When dwelling on the past, there is comfort in knowing the outcome of the story rather than facing the uncertainty of the future. In other words, the past is comfortable.
While a lot had changed in my hometown, there was also much that had not changed and I realized had I stayed there and never left, I would not have changed either. When we are too comfortable, we become complacent, and do not grow.
Salt is a dehydrating agent which makes it nearly impossible for anything to grow from it. Maybe that is why Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt. She looked back when she was supposed to be moving forward. She was not ready to grow.
What is the lesson for us? Be careful about looking back too long. You might get stuck.