The Circle of Life

April 15, 2015 | By | 2 Comments


“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

One of my co-workers had a baby today. A beautiful baby of course – aren’t they all? A few hours later, a different co-worker received a call that his father had died. His dad was thought to be healthy. The death was a complete surprise.

Then, there is me. An outside observer in all of this. Happy for one. Sad for the other. Unsure how to be both at the same time.

I remember reading about stages of grief. We are shocked. We get angry at others. The anger turns on ourselves. We become confused. We question. What just happened? Why? What could I have done differently? How do I make sense of this tragedy? How do I move forward in life with this giant hole in my heart?

I think about the death more than the birth. I can’t imagine facing what is ahead for my co-worker. Mostly, I am afraid for myself. Scared to death of losing those I love.

I listen to the radio. Songs about new love and all the hope that goes along with it. Songs about being tossed aside like an old shoe. Songs that reflect and ask questions. Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life? I don’t know.

I’m told to rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer. I offer my words of congratulations. I offer my words of regret. I go back to my business of getting the day’s work done, wondering what difference any of those empty words of mine really made anyway.

I think about Elton John singing about the circle of life and the spooky quote from Superman Returns about the son becoming the father and the father becoming the son. I recall Emily from the play Our Town desperately wanting to go back in time to relive her 12th birthday until finding it much too painful and concluding that life should be valued “every, every minute”. With all the death and regret and pain involved, I’m not sure I like this circle of life stuff very much.

I think about times when I’ve messed up by not telling people how much I cared about them before it was too late and how much I never want that to happen again. I think about others who were kind to me and how much that meant to me and how much I want to be kind to them in return. I think about the gift of life and how easy it is to take it for granted.

I think about the baby. Like her, I wonder what in the world is going on. The world which manages to be so beautiful and terrifying and wonderful and broken at the same time. I think about the oft repeated statement in the Bible to “not be afraid” and how I’m never alone – even though it often seems that way. I remember that those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted. I think about Easter and Jesus defeating death and promising to make all things new. Even me.

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Category: Musings

Comments (2)

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  1. colleen says:

    Great post Mark!

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