Orpheus lost his heart, by placing what was behind him in front of him. He chose the wrong time to look back on his sweet wife, his sweet life. A few more steps, a touch more patience, and he could have had a shot at happiness. But the man was too quick to turn.
So too, Dathan and Abirim, sons of Eliab, looked back on Egypt with eyes only for their missed comforts. Crazed by the heat and the sand and their thirst, they scorned their deliverance.
Is it not enough for you to have brought us away from a country flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, without your making yourself our absolute ruler?
Numbers 16:13, NJV
A few short months ago I believed my bacteria job was a leap in the right direction, a gift from God, a rescue from the trail to mediocrity. A few short weeks ago I believed my lulu job was wind to my sails, which had been flat in irons since first initiation into this adult world. Yet the struggle is real, and it exists, as always, most vividly in my mind. What portions of my troubles do I fabricate from thin air?
Tempting, oh how tempting it is to look back. What stands at the forefront of my mind? The stability, the manageable schedule, the low expectations, the high pay, the friendly faces, the surety of what tomorrow brings. I catch myself plotting my return to the Rock, tail-tucked but with renewed optimism: stubborn determination to take it with a smile. Surely my perspective has changed. Surely I have grown up. Surely it would be best for everyone. Surely life will be just fine.
I think of what I lost since leaving: the six months of pay, the vacation accrual, the maternity leave, the trust I’d built. An urgency overwhelms me: I must get back, or what more will I lose?
A knows better, I think. Having been in a fishbowl with me for the last year and a half, and privy to every sorrow and hate that racked me, he pushes me forward. He forbids me to let this all be for naught. He believes, when I doubt. He trusts there is a better place, and we are moving toward it.
This is, perhaps, my desert. But if it is, I am amidst beauty. My blessings are plentiful, my loads I can carry. If I place my trust in God, I can put one foot in front of the other. That is all I need to do, for now. Until I have the strength to lift my eyes and perceive the wonders around me; they envelope me, but I’ve blinded myself to them for so long. I do not know if this is where God has led me; I do not know if I have 40 long years to wander. How can I know if my path is right? I can do all things with love.
I have no desire to suffer twice, in reality and then in retrospect.
― Sophocles, Oedipus Rex