It can be hard sometimes, being away from home and starting a life on my own, not to look back at my past every so often with a touch of homesickness. Photographs, I have found, are particularly dangerous for me. I love looking through pictures from old shows that I was in, or my random adventures in high school (whether school-related or not). I can’t help but smile, thinking of my friends and how carefree we all were then. And while of course it is good to remember fondly the great experiences the Lord has blessed us with, there is also something to be aware of as we do. A missionary serving in my ward when I was in high school introduced me to a scripture which I have found to be increasingly powerful over the past several years:
Remember Lot’s WifeLuke 17:32
I’ve heard a lot of people discuss this scripture, reviewing the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19, and expounding upon why her story is applicable to us today. Elder Holland gave a devotional at BYU in January 2009 in which he explained that it is not merely looking back, but looking back with a longing to return, that is dangerous. Instead, Elder Holland encourages us to look forward and focus on what the future holds in store for us:
So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. 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 have 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 that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already 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.
(*I highly recommend reading or listening to this devotional in its entirety, if you have the chance*)
As I was reading section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants tonight, these verses really stuck out to me:
And so tonight, instead of being homesick and missing the life I left behind in Ohio, I am lifting up my heart and rejoicing. I am grateful for the many, many blessings which I have received throughout my life. I am grateful to have had so many opportunities presented to me in high school and in my youth. And I am grateful, above all, for my Heavenly Father’s Plan, and for my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and that He knows and loves me more than I can ever hope to deserve.
Though I don’t know what the future holds, I know that the Lord is watching over me as I embark upon another new adventure.