February 13, 2011

leaving it in the past

yes, it's the middle of february and i am finally posting for the first time this new year. did you miss me??? :)

what has kept me busy? the beginning most of december was a frantic race to the finish line (end of the semester) and scrambling around doing things for family, with family, especially for my dearest baby brother. holiday craziness came and went, then a new year and a new semester arrived. this meant that all the insane busyness of school and work (as a substitute teacher) started once again.

did i even get a rest?

yes, i did. the time i got to spend with my beloved family and dearest friends rejuvenated my spirit and prepared me to face the ever-present grindstone. however, i am practically finished with my major... so my course load has dramatically switched gears with my minor: english education. so many literature classes! so much reading! fun, interesting, but it takes a very long time for me to complete.

with so many changes and so much to do, i have left my thoughts all in a clump. i'm realizing how much i need to blog for my own clarity. it lets my thoughts spill out of my head, arranging themselves in a semi-coherent manner. when i see my thoughts written-out, this reminds me to stay focused on the present and make it my priority. blogging allows me to keep the past in the past.

i have been thinking a lot about the past lately. i can't help it, really. a lot has happened to bring it back up. for one thing, baby brother coming back home has made me think about the two years that passed while he was away, washing up a flood of memories from the depths of my mind.

i don't know about you, but when faced with past decisions or events... i sometimes find it hard to let them be. i will start to obsess over my actions and words - what i could have changed and what i wish i could repeat now. i will pine so much for the past that i do not live fully in the present. ................ i know that is unhealthy. judge if you want, but i know i am not the only one who occasionally does this.

anyway, my church relief society group had an activity in january that was awesome! i loved it, and i knew Heavenly Father was aware of my need for the content of the lesson and the theme for the activity.

the theme: "look not behind thee" from genesis 19:17

first we watched this mormon message video:

then we discussed the story in genesis 19 -- the Lord told lot to take his family up to the mountain, as far away from the city as possible, and to not look behind them so they would not be consumed by the destruction. in elder jeffrey r. holland's talk "remember lot's wife", he explains:
apparently what was wrong with lot's wife is that she wasn't just looking back, but that in her heart she wanted to go back. it would appear that even before they were past the city limits, she was already missing what sodom and gomorrah had offered her. as elder maxwell once said, such people know they should have their primary residence in zion but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in babylon. it is possible that lot's wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what He was asking her to leave behind. we know that laman and lemuel did when lehi and his family were commanded to leave jerusalem. so it isn't just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. in short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. that, apparently, was at least part of her sin.

as the relief society leader read elder holland's words - and i don't mean to sound trite - it hit me like a ton of bricks that i have been acting quite a bit like lot's wife. the Lord doesn't want me looking back longingly at the life i have already lived. lot's wife is the 'what not to do' example, but unfortunately i was relating to her!

when elder holland, in his talk, spelled out the 'what to do' example it really made sense.
the past is to be learned from but not lived in. we look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. and when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future -- faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. so a more theological way to talk about lot's wife is to say she did not have faith. she doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than she had. apparently she thought, fatally as it turned out, that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind.
when i am completely honest with myself, i know that i don't always trust the Lord will lead me to a brighter future. i long for what i had in the past because at least it was what i knew and was comfortable with. but an inspiring gospel teacher taught me that i keep asking Heavenly Father for a dove chocolate bar and he says no. why? because he wants to give me the tastiest chocolate souffle` i could ever imagine. it's all about the faith. first i have to leave the past where it belongs.

..... my over-all goal this year: "look not behind [me]" ~ i'm going to get that souffle`!