Have you ever given much thought to the life cycle of living things? How we came to be, what life looks like in the middle, and when our time on this earth is done? Not being morbid – follow me on this.
As parents we are overjoyed (in most cases) at the news that our life is about to change with the addition of a tiny human. We are completely oblivious to how it is going to change as we go through the gestation period amid morning sickness, baby showers, and just plain grouchiness when we can’t see our feet anymore. Then, amazingly, the tiny human is born and we are in awe that our bodies can create such a thing. And, admit it – TERRIFIED that this person is our responsibility.
Life progresses. Sometimes we add other tiny humans to our responsibility list and sometimes not. Life is a maze of soccer games, recitals, endless errands, and “what’s for dinner?” Time passes faster than we realize and we forget to pack away the smell of their hair as babies, the pride bursting out of our chest when they first display that they really WERE listening to our teachings, or the hugs that we don’t even realize are going to end. We look up and they are adults. When the hell did that happen?
Suddenly you have these not tiny humans. That no longer think you have any brains in your head at all. That want to barrel headlong into places and situations you know – from experience – are going to cause them pain and your protection is no longer welcome. In fact, it’s labeled as a myriad of bad things. Your intentions are questioned and you shrink from the rejection. WTH?
Why does life not prepare us, the parents, for the next stage of life? Why did these tiny humans become the sole focus of our life if they were going to push us away as surely as the sun comes up? The “empty nest” thing has tons of material written on it and not one bit of it is helpful. You crave the laundry, the shoes on the floor, and the NOISE that used to drive you mad.
But despite everything, time moves on. You age. You find your way into being an adult that gets to put yourself first (?!?) and with God’s grace your presence is welcome in the not so tiny human’s life and that of their tiny humans. Then the day comes when you become the tiny human again. You can’t take care of yourself, or illness comes, and you have to rely on your tiny humans to take care of you. Did you prepare them for that? Did you tell them what you wanted or needed when this time came? Or are they as blindsided by the new responsibility as you were when you brought them home from the hospital? Did you teach them how to grieve and how that would affect their life permanently? The absence that would always be there that is you? Why hasn’t someone written a manual on these things???
Mufasa said it best when he said “Everything you see exists in a delicate balance… We are all connected in the great Circle of Life.” God created us because he wanted us, as we create families of our own because we want them, and so the circle goes. But being flawed humans means we forget our elders have gone before us and have wisdom to share. Or the balance is disrupted by an absentee parent or a life altering event. We feel knocked out of that circle and being human means we struggle to know how to step back into it. But regardless of what knocks us off balance the truth remains.
We are all connected and need each other in the Circle of Life.