Thumbing through one of my many journals yesterday, I came across a story I had jotted down a few months ago. I’m so glad that I took the time to record those few lines. Not only is it a good story in and of itself, but it also provided the prompt I need for this morning’s post. And incidentally, it’s the kind of story I included in Eve’s Sisters, a little bit of psychology and a little bit of religion.
A woman who had been given a helping hand when she was young moved away and went on to live a successful life. One day she came home, and tongues started wagging. People who remembered her past just could not let that go. They would look at her and cluck their tongues and say spiteful things like, “I remember when she didn’t have two nickels to rub together” or “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” “A leopard doesn’t change its spots,” might have been whispered too.
My notes suggested that the naysayers were like Lot’s wife, not because they were personally mired in their own pasts but because they couldn’t let the now-successful woman go forward. In their minds she was still stuck in her past, preserved just like a pillar of salt. While these might not be the speaker’s exact words, they’re the ones I jotted down while listening to the talk: “Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve. If something is buried in the past, leave it there.”
When I read my scribbling this morning, I thought immediately of a woman in midlife who is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, whatever that might mean to you. Without going into unpleasant details and risk being like the tongue cluckers mentioned above, I’ll just say that she’s been down a few back roads and even fallen by the wayside and gotten lost in the woods. BUT today she’s “clean,” gainfully employed, and attending college.
I want her to stay focused and moving onward toward a brighter future for herself. I want to say, “Don’t go back. Please don’t go back. There’s nothing there.” And to the naysayers, I want to say, “Please help her leave Sodom for good.”
As the eCard on Facebook says, “Don t visit my past. I don’t live there anymore.”
Have you ever been tempted to judge a person’s present by her (or his) past? And what about yourself? Have you ever let things that happened yesterday sap the joy right our of today?