The phrase “circle of life” seems like a misnomer. I saw The Lion King on Broadway last weekend where to the phrase was transformed into melodic triumph and celebration. The hunter and the hunted stood side by side and recognized their place in the continuity of the savanna and the world. Although sad in parts, it elevated the passing of life and miracle birth to showstopping grandeur. Yet, circle doesn’t aptly describe the transition.
Last night, I joined my friend and his family at his parent’s house. His dad is dying. Sent home with Hospice a few days ago, the 89 year old laid in a hospital bed in the living room surrounded by his family and friends. His life is truly a celebration of joy and love. That feeling, along with lots of singing and laughter, filled the room. His ultimate passing will no doubt be sad for all of us who knew him. However, he has left so much of himself behind. It’s hard to count the total of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that bear his name, embody his joy for life and will carry his memory in their hearts.
Just as Simba took his place as king of the savanna after the passing of his father, there is the next generation waiting to take their place as the matriarch and patriarch of the Sullivan clan. As Sully passes, there are new Sullivans waiting to be born, too. Still, “circle” doesn’t seem to hit the mark.
Life’s journey is more like a spiral – constantly spinning, imitating the last loop, but never really being the same. Each of us add our own contributions and our own memories to build upon the loop of the past generations. Even if we spin our life in a similar orbit as those that come before us, it is never really the same. What we do and think and say makes a difference to the upward spiral of life.
It’s a shame that it often takes death to remind us what life is all about. Hug your family. Help someone across the street. Write. Create. Share your talents with the world. Surround yourself with people that inspire you and in turn, you inspire others. Celebrate life.