Collins Dictionary says the circle of life is, “Nature’s way of taking and giving back life to earth. It symbolizes the universe being sacred and divine. It represents the infinite nature of energy, meaning if something dies it gives new life to another”
With a little flexibility on the definition, I believe that life presents numerous opportunities for life to come full circle. As we grow and learn we continually have parts of our life die while having new life be born from the lessons of the old life. Some of these lessons are small, but most of us go through phases with major life lessons.
I believe I have successfully made it through a mid-life crisis.
As I progressed through my teaching career I was very successful. I was financially sound. I earned multiple school and county awards. I was being praised left and right. I was set in my ways. I knew everything. I was always right. I had a great wife. I had two wonderful sons. I was attending church. I was serving. I was doing so many good things. And you may notice that all of these things revolved around one thing, “I.”
I didn’t need any help. Everything was going well without help. I worked hard and earned my success.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
Boy was I wrong. Everything came crashing down on me. My attitude was too much. It was hurting me. And more importantly I was hurting other people. This selfishness was hurting my marriage. It was hurting my boys. It was negatively influencing friendships. It was destroying my career. And it brought me to the lowest point of my life when I decided to leave teaching.
Fast forward three years (and feel free to fill in some blanks by reading my last post)…I am happy. Better yet, There is actually some joy, just pure joy, in certain areas of my life. My focus is on serving my wife, and connecting with my boys as I lead them. An awareness of the plights of others is much more prevalent in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am still selfish. I am still impatient. I still have many issues. But things are much better than they were a few years ago.
What changed? Simply put, God has made himself known to me. But wait. He did that before, so how is it different now? The difference is that now I accept Him. There is no other way for me than to accept his love. I am a prime example of how messed up things can get when we do things on our own. Only in accepting His love, studying and learning about Him and His ways, and working to implement these lessons in my life can I improve.
How do I know God exists? Simply, faith. It took years for me to accept this. I still don’t have all the answers. I still have many questions about science that I am working on answering. But there are just too many things that could have just happened.
How has this growth impacted and changed me? It’s helped me grow up. I truly believe the last four years have brought me through a mid-life crisis, and successfully out the other side as a better person, a better man. It has brought me full circle in that I am back teaching. This has allowed me to repair some relationships that I damaged before. It has allowed me to repair my reputation. It has given me a new chance to impact others positively. It’s a new life that gives me a fresh start. My past is still there. I can only ask for forgiveness from people who I have have hurt or angered. I can only try to improve each day.
Coming through the crisis, I have a new outlook on life, and a new mission. Serve others. What does that look like? It looks like leading my family, not in an authoritarian way, but in a servant way. It means serving my church. It means connecting with others to hear their struggles and try to help them. Perhaps I’ll have some success and change some lives along the way.