Perhaps two weeks ago Reb Jeff posted his sermon on a pillar of salt, and the story of Abraham and Sarah, and their 'lets throw a party' attitude to having strangers at their door.
Also the comparison when two of the Angels with 'The Lord' went to S'dom to survey the town met with Lot, Abrams Nephew.
I read between the lines that Abram knew they were going and said, 'do look out for my nephew Lot'
Anyhow today a dear friend said to me ''Pillar of Salt' that's what my aunty used to say to me, ... Leave all the past behind you'. I did ask her if she knew the biblical context of the story and gave a quick precis of it. Nerd that I am.
Turning back to look at the past is not a profitable experience, is what she meant I know. However I suppose the best comment to make for the story is 'Eyes Front' in the military sense. Only look at where you are going.
Today I went to play Petanque for the first time in three months with other people. It was good. Not Great, but good.
I realized a few things. Firstly when I take my shot, it is just that. My shot. My time. My decision. I can screen out opposition, partner advice and idiosyncrasies (Not Husband this time!). Just my time to play. My time to wait and see if it is a good placement or will not alter the score of the game. I just got back to throwing my boules into a game.
I felt a wholesome detatchment to the outcome, and enjoyed playing. I was even more aware of how much 'baggage' my partner was playing with, and just listened. I will tell her next time I see her what I felt, perhaps it will help her game.
Well back to Lot's wife becoming a pillar of salt. It is an awful story in the Bible, because Lot's wife obviously liked her life in S'dom, where the men were in some kind of male version of masochistic masoginistic dominance/submissiveness. I don't even know the word for it, I suppose there is one where Gay men dominate others who are either also gay or not, but this was Lot's situation. He was also dominated by his wife and daughters.
Lot had lost his sense of masculinity I think. The men of the town threatened him that it would be worse for him than the two strangers, if he didn't bring out the strangers he was protecting. They were planning gang rape for the strangers, Lot probably wouldn't have survived.
Lot was just surviving. Mentally emotionaly physically. He certainly had no sense of being able to call on God for help, although God heard of the plight of S'dom and Gommorah.
Speeding on through the story, when the two (angel) strangers struck all the men blind, they had to lead Lot, and his family out of the house to get him away from the situation. They actually dragged him in my Bible version.
Lot's wife turned back to look at the past life she enjoyed and was turned to a pillar of salt. Stopped dead in her tracks from enjoying the future ahead of her.
Lot did little better, only agreeing to go to a nearby town, instead of striking out for the new life in the mountains that the angels begged him to strive for.
Lot and his two daughters eventually ended up living in a cave, and Lot's daughters took advantage of Lot in order to have children. That's why I am saying even his daughters didn't respect him, however pragmatically they felt about having children.
Lot ended up living in a cave for the rest of his life because I think he lived with the deep shame of abuse he suffered in S'dom. Lot couldn't forgive the past injustices done to him. He continued to live with shame. It seems this separated him from family and friends, and he became a recluse.
The Angels urged him to go to the mountains, the high places of God's forgiveness and blessing, but he couldn't because of his own sense of shame and loss, and looking back over his life.
I don't feel shame because of being Bi-Polar, I know a lot of people with this condition do.
Please if you do feel a sense of shame about your past, don't let it hold you back from leaving it and starting a new life.
I think sometimes whole countries need to have a change of direction too, a change of moral compass, and a new direction.
It's about finding a real vision for our future together as a planet and working towards it. Perhaps not exploiting others, or choosing no longer to be exploited. Perhaps leaving a well paid but bad position to be in in life. One that does not honour you as a human being made in God's image.
Dream big, and don't look back to past mistakes. It's your shot, take your time to do the best shot you can. Don't worry if it doesn't hit the mark. My Husband said to me when we got home after playing today, four people said you played well today.
They weren't all people I was playing with! We never know how our good days, and our good thoughts and action can inspire others to be the best they can be with God's help.
God rescued Lot, by sending his two angels to help him. The Angels had to almost drag Lot out of the dreadful situation he was in to start a new life.
Lot's story is one of not 'letting go and following God'. It's very sad.
I like the Bible, God just tells it how it is.
Abrams story, with some very funny moments, Is a story of following where God sent him. He got it wrong of course as well, but he let go of the past and gave it a go... with God's help.
It's not about winning and getting everything right. Sometimes it's about having the courage to play, even if you get things wrong. I am sure God always sees our heart.
May yours be bound up if it is broken, and God give you peace and understanding that you may move on with your life and find new dreams to dream, and then live them with God's help.