Closing circles

By: Francis B. Ongkingco November 11,2016 - 10:06 PM

A way to describe our life projects or ambitions is to compare them to drawing circles. One patiently connects the dots, so to speak, until a circle is finished before moving on to the next goal. Once these plans are successfully achieved we say, “I have closed a circle.” Moreover, a circle also symbolizes order, harmony and focus in our efforts to make one’s dreams a reality.

There is, however, the danger of being fixated with simply completing circles. We forget that sometimes it isn’t all about just drawing them off. We must realize that we draw circles with or for someone and that some are perhaps best left unfinished to serve as a lesson for future circles.

This image of drawing and completing circles can be wonderfully applied to our spiritual life.

First, let’s consider that of being too focused in completing circles. One can become unsettled when a particular circle (i.e., a virtue, our work and relationship) cannot be completed or closed. Here, the person is more focused on external results rather than on the inner transformation that happens if he learns how to discover and embrace the “unfinished circles” of life.

Unfinished circles are seen, for example, with someone’s untimely death or a friendship is interrupted by illness or a family misunderstanding. Instead of learning how to see a “new circle” that can be drawn from these new spaces, one can become sad, angry and rebelliously rejecting of others.

Perhaps, this negative reaction is easily understood when we realize that our incapacity to accept “unfinished events” is rooted in the inability to detach ourselves from the circle of our egos. This circular ego, misconceived as perfect, is what we obsessively wish to impose — consciously or not — on people, events and things.

The second consideration is our tendency to forget that life’s circles are best drawn with others. Human nature was created to be with someone and for Someone. Thus, it would be plain vanity and presumption to think of doing things always in solo mode.

Men who believe that they are better off drawing circles alone only end up in a cycles of frustration and bareness. Aside from being engrossed with completing their circles, they cannot also accept that others — without substituting an individual’s choices and decisions — can make the task of completing circles meaningful and easier.

For example, we apply this idea to how two people in love get married and draw together the circle of a family. There is the circle of friendship that is completed between people whose loyalty and confidence transcend time and space. Then there are the circles of work and social engagements that are not only there to be fulfilled but enriched as well.

And what of the gaps and unpolished points as we draw? These are compared to the uncertainties of life such as losses, misunderstandings, fights, wars, etc. What we must consider and pray about is that in the midst of these uncertainties we can still hang on to one unfailing certainty: that God allows uncertainties for a good reason and above all for our good. The rest we cannot explain are best left in God’s hands.

One day, the clear certainty amidst uncertainties will be clarified with a stroke of love — the finishing touch — which God lovingly does to complete our circle. He often finishes drawing them for us because man has no power to close his life physically. Only God, who has the power over life and death, can draw the final point or line closing the very circle of our life with its other smaller but wonderful circles.

Before that “closing moment” arrives, we may feel a bit discouraged that we could have done better or more. That we could have loved, understood and forgiven others more often. That our projects could have been more successful if we had included others in them. These and many more ponderings may make us anxious about and afraid of our unfinished or imperfect circles.

This is the moment, as we should strive for throughout life, to frequently consider that God doesn’t focus on our sinfulness. Instead, He contemplates our efforts to love Him even in the most insignificant things. This is how we train every day, not in completing circles, but in learning to trust and love God who mysteriously completes and perfects our circles for us.

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TAGS: ambition, circle, death, drawing, faith, friendship, frustation, future, God, human nature, illness, life, misunderstanding, project, relationship, spirit, spiritual life, success, unfinished

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