Friday, 19 June 2009

The price of change

Since I've returned to my blog, I've been considering changing the back ground images. It's a simple thing to do...replace a line of code or two, and wallah, a new look. I could use different photos, or some of my art work.

But even with a minor change like this, there is a price. A certain loss of comfort, of familiarity. No, it's not anything earth shattering -- I am not paralyzed with fear. But there is a tinge of mourning when we let go of the familiar, whether it's a favourite pair of shoes or an outgrown bed...or a blog background. Admit have held on to a worn out, but beloved shirt or pair of shoes or some other item even when a perfectly acceptable replacement (read, new) was readily available.

If we know that these little changes can affect us, why do we pretend that major changes are "no big deal?" Whether the change is positive like a new job or a graduation, or sad like the end of a loving relationship, we as a society want people to "get over it" or "get on with it" with lightening speed.

To look back wistfully is seen as a sign of weakness. The most famous story of this bias against taking one last look is Lot's wife. We all know the the family was fleeing the evil of the city, she takes one last glance back at the place that was her home, and is turned to a pillar of salt. The Rabbis have explained her punishment in a variety of ways, from retribution for her past misdeeds to a result of her lack of complete faith in G-d's order to flee.

But there is another possible interpretation for her look backwards. Perhaps within that city were some good memories. Perhaps the birth of her children or their first tottering steps. A home she had cared for. Memories of her wedding day. So even as her feet carried her forward into the new, and hopefully better, she needed to take one last look. The pillar of salt? Instead of description of a punishment, maybe it was simply a way to vividly describe the tears that fall when we leave something behind for something new. For a moment, as we pause between the old and the new, we are literally frozen into our tears.

According to the Torah, she did not continue on her journey forward but remained as that salty pillar. So perhaps the lesson has two parts. One, that the act of looking back as we move on in life may, for a moment freeze our progress. The problem comes when we stay there, looking backwards, forgetting the journey.

So what does this all have to do with changing my blog background? The images on the screen as of today are a place I left behind three years plus ago. I think it's time stop looking back...time to face forward and move on.

No comments: