Monday, January 18, 2010

Lot's wife

I read the story of Lot's wife for a literature class this week; it is the tale of a woman who flees her native town because God is setting it on fire and annihilating all its inhabitants. Not only does this poor woman lack a name, when she turns around to see her beloved city burning one last time, she is turned into a pillar of salt for disobeying God (He told her no peeking.) Yesterday evening my house (that my ex husband now lives in) burned to the ground. Thank God that he got out safely with the dog, and that my son was not there as he usually is on weekends. Today, however, I needed to go to view the wreckage. I needed, like Lot's nameless wife, to see the place that had been my home for nine years. I needed to walk through the rooms and see what was left of the place I called my home, the place where my son opened Christmas gifts year after year, the place that we raised a child. I had already left it when I divorced, and missed its cozy rooms and beautiful backyard. But there was always the possibility of coming back, of buying my ex out when the time came for him to sell. Today I mourn the death of that possibility, and the death of the structure that housed many happy memories, as well as sorrow. I am grateful that my family is safe and sound, but in order for me to truly let go of the home, I needed to revisit it, to smell the soot and feel the water drip on my head from the ceiling, left over from the night of dousing. I sit here now, having been able to see my home one last time. But Lot's wife was punished for this desire with death. In the bible verses, Lot doesn't even wonder where she went, he just continues his journey. Today I know the importance of that backward look and am grateful that mine was possible.

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