There was a song we sang when I was a child about the great state of Montana. It went like this: “Montana, Montana! Glory of the West. Of all the states from coast to coast you’re easily the best. Montana, Montana! Your skies are always blue! M-O-N-T-A-N-A! Montana, I love you!” It was sung to the tune of a school fight song. And in my heart, that is how I feel. I will always love Montana.

While shopping for thread, I met a woman who moved to Montana from Minnesota. The thing she missed the most from the midwest is Western salad dressing. I didn’t know, but it is not available in Montana. Her family is missing it. It made me smile that when she learned I was from Indiana, she was compelled to share her love of Western dressing with me.

Years ago, at lunch with new co-workers, I attempted to make connections with the women by sharing something about my previous employer. Impatiently, the matriarch in the group told me I didn’t work there anymore so I didn’t need to worry about that work environment. I was silent the rest of the meal.

It’s difficult to let go of attachments. It might be a place we lived, a hometown, a job, a salad dressing – whatever our heart attached to; the thing that gave meaning, purpose or enjoyment. Just as my co-worker harshly pointed out to me, letting go is necessary to successfully embracing the next step. Paul, in kinder words, said it like this…

…but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Philippians 3:13-14

I wonder how often our longing for the past, even distant past circumstances, hinders me from truly living in and embracing the present moment. I don’t believe I can be fully present in the NOW if I am longing for what used to be, even if it is just the place where I once lived.

A few years ago, arriving in Indiana after a few weeks in Montana, I realized my heart was home. I reveled in that feeling, knowing that it was the place my children call home, the only thing they know. I was happy to be home in Indiana.

I am grateful for my heritage. Montana — and everything that word means to me — will always hold a corner of my heart. To borrow scripture, I keep these things and ponder them in my heart, while at the same time, holding dear my present circumstances.

But for now, Montana, I bid you adieu! Until next time!

How about you? Is there anything that has your heart’s attention? It might be your place of origin, a relationship, a job, an ex-lover. Can you let go of what lies behind so that you can grab what is ahead with both hands?

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