Sunday, March 7, 2010

Luke 17:32

Michael Jr. walked into the kitchen awhile ago and he asked if I’d seen a commercial for the movie “Hot Tub Time Machine”. I don’t see a lot of commercials (because Tivo is Awesome) so I told him I hadn’t. He said it was about these people who fall asleep in a hot tub and wake up in the 80’s. “Too bad it’s rated ‘R’”, he added. I turned to Michael and said, “Well that’s that. I will never write that book because the best idea’s already been taken.” I mean really, is that not the best story idea you’ve ever heard? Check out this synopsis I just found on the Fandango website:

“Disappointed at the way their lives have turned out, four longtime friends reunite at the ski resort where they used to party and find themselves transported back to the year 1986 by a magical jacuzzi.”

It’s got John Cusack’s in it, a magical Jacuzzi, AND it takes place in the 80’s? What more could I ask for?

Interesting that Michael Jr. would bring this up; I’ve been pondering the whole concept of Looking Back all week. We’re studying the Old Testament in our Sunday School class and we were at the part in Genesis where Abram and Lot part ways. Their herdsman are quarreling and together they just have too much for the land to bear. Abram tells Lot to go wherever he’d like; he’ll go in the opposite direction. Lot decides he’s all about the cities of the plain and he pitches his tent toward Sodom. This was probably literally true but there’s a whole lot there as far as metaphor goes. Lot was a good enough guy but you know, the city had its allure. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Such people know they should have their primary residence in Zion but they still hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon.”

So anyway, eventually Lot and his family are living in Sodom. God’s had enough of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and their evil ways and he warns Lot to get his family out. Lot isn’t quick on the uptake but eventually they get out without a moment to spare. They were warned not to look back but Lot’s wife couldn’t help herself and paid the price for it. But was it just that she literally turned and looked back? Not likely.

Every scriptorian knows that the shortest verse in the Bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” What you may not know is that the second shortest is Luke 17:32, Jesus’ admonition to “Remember Lot’s wife.” But why? I looked up a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland from about a year ago with that scripture as the title. Elder Holland offers this as an explanation:

“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 . . . 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.”

It’s easy to glorify the past as well. Easy to gloss over those not so great moments and forget how things really were. Lest you think I only get inspiration from the very best places, I like to think of Homer Simpson’s advice to his daughter when trips down memory lane seem enticing: “If I were you I wouldn’t dig into the past. I lived in some of that past and I got out for a reason.” And as stupid as it sounds, it’s true. The past isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are plenty of fond memories I have of times and relationships I ended for solid reasons.

So, would I want to take a ride in a magical Jacuzzi back to 1986? That’s a hard one. I mean I don’t want to turn into a pillar of salt or anything. 1986 was Fabulous and there’s that whole If I Knew Then What I Know Now thing but what’s the point really? In his talk Elder Holland added, “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 be efficacious in our lives.” So. I guess if we have faith we can look back fondly but still know the best is yet to come.

1 comment:

  1. David and I were just having a similar conversation at Casa Mia yesterday - (yeah, I know we spend too much time there) but it is a great quiet place to go hang out in the evening. There are so many things that I would happily give up if/when I am asked, but there are some things that would be much harder to give up, like family.

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