Monday, November 2, 2015

Look Back

There's a story in the Old Testament about Lot and his wife and the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot, his wife and his daughters are fleeing from the deadly reign of fire and are warned to not look back.  But Lot's wife can't resist the temptation to see the havoc behind her, so she glimpses over her shoulder.  Her punishment for that fateful neck turn is a metamorphosis: she becomes a pillar of salt, forever facing backwards.  She'll never get to see the future because she was too invested in her past.

I haven't written on this blog since the end of August, partially because I've been afraid of turning into a pillar of salt.

I began writing in earnest as a way to process, in real time, the trials of Cliff's incarceration and my life after the fact.  I continued writing as a I worked through the decision to divorce and live as a single mother.  But somewhere along the way, I started re-processing the same days, the same difficulties, the old news.  Recovering from trauma certainly isn't a linear process, in the same way that grief is not; we often retread old grounds because we realize we hadn't fully comprehended it.  But in my experience working with people, we are all susceptible to the temptation off cycling back to old wounds as a way to reclaim victimhood.   When we suffer, at least publicly, our concentric circles of support turn in towards us and pay us heed.  That gaze can become addictive.

This realization clarified for me when I hopped onto Facebook and looked through my "See what happened years ago on this day" feature.  I should have known better, but who doesn't enjoy nostalgia?  I knew precisely when I'd hit the beginning of "All the Evil" because my status update was just a scripture:

That's what I did in November, and for much of the rest of that year.  I didn't have words so I used the words of scripture instead.   Now, whenever I get on Facebook, and for however long this "window into the past" feature is a part of that platform, I can peer back like Lot's wife.

I'd rather not.  Not anymore.  I think I've done enough time as a frozen pillar of vaguely human likeness, forced to gaze endlessly upon tragedy.

I'd rather discipline myself to look forward, to deal with my present days according to their own merit.  But, to do that, I'm going to have to find a way to organically transition the focus of my writing from backwards to forwards.  That's why I'll be doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month), an off-shoot of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I'm already a day behind (I've never been very organized), but I don't think the blogging gawds will mind much.  My plan is to blog around concepts which give me broad interpretive power.  Through this process, I hope to discern where my heart and mind are spending their times these days, and how my words can continue to touch others.  It is a blog after all; if I didn't care about you readers, this would just be a public diary.

My plan is this:
Sundays - Song
Mondays - Parenting
Tuesdays - The World
Wednesdays - Art
Thursdays - Joy
Fridays - Anger
Saturday - Nature

Thanks for your patience during my silence.  Here's to turning the month of November from a frozen vigil over that which was lost, to a hopeful turn towards the possible days ahead.

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