There’s a lot of stuff we leave behind us when we move forward. Some of them we’re fond of, some we’re not, and some are just collateral damage of our natural progression through life.
For example, I had to leave a lot of my favorite foods behind on my way to weight control. I miss them terribly, but I have no choice. If I want to lose weight, some discipline is in order, and not doing it won’t help me. Complaining about it won’t help me. Certainly wishing it away
hasn’t won’t help me. So it’s either leave it behind, or leave behind the notion of being thin again. (That’s sort of happening anyway, as I approach a year of no weight loss to speak of.)
I have to sometimes leave people behind too. I’ve left behind a lot of genetic familial ties, and I’ve never really replaced them with other relationships despite the desire to do so. I’ve had folks come and go in my life, and sometimes I miss them. Other times I don’t, and like I said before, some are just collateral damage of leaving something else behind.
I’m not sorry about most of the people I’ve left behind, as I said. I’ve made my decisions because I felt I had to, for whatever reason. Sharing genetics doesn’t make a family, relationships do. I can’t tell you how many people have tried to tell me I need to reconcile with toxic people because “they’re your family.” I can’t change my genetics, and I didn’t get to choose my family. I do get to choose my associations though, and I choose not to associate with those people who demonstrate a willingness to lie, steal, hurt, and control me.
“Family” is only a word, and it can be applied to any set of people we want. The pastor at our church, for instance, likes to call his little flock “mishpochah” (or “mishpachah” some online sources say) – “family” – because of how he feels about them. I wouldn’t use that term for most of them, but there are a few with whom I would.
I’ve left behind a lot of material things too, though I would contend those were taken from us rather than surrendered. Either way, they lie far in the dusty past, corroded and rotten. The future is a murky darkness which isn’t penetrable by my feeble vision. Today, I’m surrounded with adequate things to get through. A roof over our heads, beds to sleep in, food to grow on, and a loving spouse and children I can’t live without. I don’t really know how it is I can look at those things and not be overwhelmed with joy all the time.
The answer, of course, is because I spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror, seeing what I left behind, instead of looking right around me and seeing the loving eyes on me most of the time. I look back instead of up, where I would behold a loving God and Father Who provides all we need, and shelters us from harm. I spend so much time counting the losses, I don’t spend time counting the blessings.
And if I did, I’d soon find there is no time to count the losses any longer.