“I live my life in widening circles”

For my high school graduation, one of my closest friends gave me a book of poetry. These poems were ancient poems written by monks during their lives of solitude. The summer after high school, like most summers, I had a lot of extra time on my hand. So, I wrote about these poems like any normal person does (lol). Looking back, I find my conclusions on the poem rather embarrassing. It’s funny to read what that poem meant to me then and compare it to my current perspective. I’ve honestly forgotten about most of the poems in that book. Honestly, only one line from one of the initial poems has remained with me to this day.

“I live my life in widening circles.”

As people grow and develop, I believed that their circles change. When you’re a kid, it’s just your family. From school, you have friend groups, teammates, classmates, teachers. The longer you spend on the earth, the more people you know. The more people you know, the more you know about yourself. In effectively connecting with people with different backgrounds and experiences, you are forced to find things within yourself to foster those relationships.

Our circles grow and we grow to maintain our circles. This is the nature of living in a community; it’s the nature of being human.

I think I still believe this. But, there’s another layer to it now.

As you build these relationships, as you draw these connections, you are forced to spread yourself over a larger area. As we grow older and more complicated, our lives don’t affect just a small group of people anymore. People know people who know people, affecting one affects many. There is a new responsibility in our actions. I feel convicted to tread more carefully, to share myself with caution, to not be so vain as to think my circles can extend eternally. I’m just one person and my world will only grow. As it develops and becomes an ever increasing network of circles, there is a need to prioritize. We weren’t designed to be close with hundreds of people. Especially as you grow and figure out what is most important you, you need to hone in on your closest circles. Before I can even think of maintaining a healthy network of larger circles, I must take care of those closest to me.

It parallels the biblical concept of “God is most honored when we are most satisfied in Him.”

We are at our best in the world’s eyes when we are first at our best with ourselves and our creator.

As my circles widen, I hope to grow with them.

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