The Circle of Life
I realize that my title conjures up images of a monkey holding up a baby lion before an ecstatic crowd of animals. But I simply can’t think of anything more apt than a circle of life as I reflect on the past couple days.
I’ve been trying to be present with my parents as they care for my grandpa, who is going on hospice care starting today.
Full circle. A young man, a soldier. He fought in a war, drove vehicles for officers in a foreign land with a strange language. He liked vehicles; they were his livelihood, his joy. He understood them, and they worked for him. He never smoked or drank or was unfaithful. He liked coffee and dessert after his meal. He married a young girl, had two baby boys. He lived his life full, faithful, quietly heroic.
Now his baby boys, all grown up with their own grand babies, come to him. They feed him mashed potatoes with a spoon, push him in a wheelchair, cheer him on when he drinks down his liquid medicine. They change his sheets from accidents and stay up with him when he wakes through the night. What he once did for them, they now do for him. It costs them just as it once costed him. It’s not undignified, it is the completion of a beautiful circle, just as God intends.
These hospital days are thin places between earth and heaven, and I think a lot about what I’m grateful for as I drive home.
In addition to seeing the full circle of family care, I watched my mom worry for my dad (if he was getting enough sleep, etc) even as he worried for her (whether or not caring for grandpa was wearing her out). Marriage, a shelter in the storm of life, where someone is always watching for you to come home.
Family is God’s idea. It’s a beautiful, messy, imperfect structure of organic machinery.