(The following is an updated re-write of a piece I wrote a couple years ago. I found myself thinking about it again.)
Yesterday was my youngest grandson’s first birthday.
That’s right, he was born one year ago.
Two years ago, we only had two grandkids.
I have a tendency to get caught up in the cyclical nature of life. It’s very hypnotic. It mesmerizes me into forgetting that the cycles are actually going somewhere. Oliver’s birthday reminded me of this…once again.
Imagine living on the tire of a car. Round and round you go. You hit the pavement once every revolution, then you can rest up until it comes around again, and that’s life. Right?
Only if you ignore the fact that the car is moving forward with every revolution.
The cycles are easy to see. They are everywhere! They’re in the clocks and the calendars.
Ugh, Monday again!
“Mike, Mike, Mike! Guess what day it is! Humpday!”
Saturday chores. Dinner with the family.
Ugh, Monday again!
If you’re a young family you are likely in the middle of a daily cycle of getting ready for work/school, meal preparation, laundry, bath time, bed time (finally!) and then…here we go again.
As a worship minister I would get caught up in the fact that Sunday comes around every single week, and Christmas and Easter come around every single year! In some ways it was always the same.
But not really.
Cycles are observable in the seasons.
We see them in the solar system.
Juno has now begun its cycle around Jupiter.
We see them in the ebb and flow of history. “History repeats itself,” we say. “Everything old is new again.”
I think maybe one of the “advantages” of having a few more years under my belt is that I’m able to see how these cycles are not simply going ‘round and ‘round…but that they really are all taking us somewhere.
For many years I have celebrated New Year’s Eve with the same group of people. It comes around every year and I could get hypnotized into thinking that it will continue to be the same every year. The truth is, it has changed. Some of the people in that group have moved away. A few others have joined us. Heck, 25 years ago I didn’t even know these people!
This may be one of the many reasons that the Bible is such a powerful book. Certainly there are cycles in scripture, but the whole thing has a beginning and an ending…and it reminds us that we do too.
So does helping your parents with applying for Medicaid so that your father can move into a skilled nursing facility. And going with your mother to pre-pay funeral expenses in order to “spend down” her assets.
The cycles aren’t just spinning. They’re moving forward with deceptive speed. They can’t be stopped except by the One who made them.
I think it’s important to take some time regularly to break the hypnotic trance of the cycles and to take a good look at where they’ve been and where they’re headed. When I do that I am better able to step back into the cycles and make a real contribution to where we’re going.
Because, in every rotation of the planet, every orbit around the sun, every change of the season and every beat of my heart I want to make sure that I’m making decisions and choices that are taking me where I need to go. Obviously, I’m not always successful at this and after one or two cycles it might not seem like anything is happening…
…but it is.