Thursday, July 02, 2009

Pictures of Egypt

Have you ever looked back on some piece of your life and wished you could go back there?

Back to that job, that house, that city, that relationship... you know the one... the one that drove you nuts at the time, but now it looks better than what's in front of you.

I'm there. Normally, I'm very future-oriented. But something's causing me to look back and play the "what if" game.

The thing about looking back is you don't see the bad parts. Recovering addicts call this phenomenon "chasing the high" — remembering only the good parts of the experience, and minimizing the losses and pain.

Just like the newly-freed children of Israel looked back and longed for the food of Egypt, but forgot about their enslavement as if it was some minor, easily-overlooked detail.

Sara Groves' song "Painting Pictures of Egypt" has been speaking to me lately. If you're struggling with looking back, I pray it speaks to you as well.

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
And the places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling out to me like a long lost friend

It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable
When you move so much
And the place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
And it wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacks
The future feels so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
And those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy to discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
I am caught between the promise
And the things I know

If it comes too quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?


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