I was 17 when I got my license, and as a very inexperienced driver, I often made wrong turns, missed exits, and got a little too distracted with things that don't particularly pertain to driving at all. I always managed (no matter the point of origin) to end up in a tiny town called Zoar. Oh I'm sorry, did I say town? I meant to say village. My friends can attest to the fact that every time we headed out of town, we ended up there instead. To see that cursed sign was like venturing into the Twilight Zone, and as many unfortunate times as I had accidentally been there, I have absolutely no recall of the route I took that led back home. Zoar was my mental block. My curse word. I loathed Zoar.
One weekend I ventured out of town (in the complete opposite direction of Zoar in fact). On the way home I knew I had somehow gotten off track. My surroundings were strange and I should have almost been home, not seeing unfamiliar sights. Ready to take the next exit to stop and ask for directions, I saw a sign nearing that read "Zoar, 5 miles." I almost started crying from that all-to-familiar sign of impending doom. How could this have happened? I didn't think I had ventured off course that long. Needless to say, I had to have help getting home because I had no idea which direction home even was. On my way home (my long way home) I really began to question what the bizarre pull to this village really meant. Suddenly I had a strange recollection of what Zoar really represented. It began a long time ago...
In the Bible, there was a man named Lot; Abraham's nephew. He lived in a place called Sodom, which was near Gomorrah. These two towns had become so deviated from their true nature that there was nothing good in any who lived there...only perversion. Abraham called out to God to have mercy on the righteous who lived there, and to save them in the midst of the destruction that was about to incur. So God sent two angels to recover the righteous, with the grand total of the recovered being 4: Lot, his wife and daughters, that's it.
The angels kept urging Lot to get his things and head for the safety of the mountains. Lot stalled so long, that the angels finally grabbed him and his family and literally carried them out of Sodom before God's judgement fell. The angels told them not to look back with longing in their hearts, and Lot's wife did. She turned into a pillar of salt. (Disclaimer: this is where you set theology and opinion aside, and humor me for the sake of the point I am aimlessly getting to, I promise).
So, running to the mountains, Lot decided that this safe haven was too far for his liking, and told the angels that he would like to stay and rest where he was instead of traveling further. Although this wasn't what was intentioned, God surrendered to his will.
He now settled in a town that was so close to the very life that he wasn't supposed to look back upon, that he could see the smoke and ruin of Sodom from his window. A window that he could daily gaze out of, staring his past right in the face. This tiny town, this village, was none other than Zoar.
My life at this point in time is incredibly cyclical. While I experience so much freedom, there are still a few things that seem to keep urging me to take the wrong exit time and time again. I never seem to notice the distractions, because they are so minute. Yet, the variance of this subtle derogation leaves me lost all the same. I have been living in a place that is too uncomfortably close to my Zoar and it is now time for me to move far away from the things that I keep gazing my affections upon that are destructive, counterproductive, and annoyingly orbital. It is time for a new path, a new destination, and to take an axe to that sign that reads, "Now Entering Zoar."
(originally published in 2011)