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Why You Count in the “Circle of Life”


Just this week, a dear friend, husband, dad, father and grandfather moved from earth to eternity. He was one of our family’s close friends, so I’m acutely aware of his transition. But, this same “passing of the torch” happens constantly. Every time a unique soul discards the earthly body and continues its journey in eternity.

These earth-shattering reminders cause us to pause and reflect on our own lives. What is our purpose here on this earth? Do we matter? What is life all about, anyway?

Let me share a deeply personal example with you. Several weeks ago, I arrived at my new place of worship for the first time after my move. I promptly was welcomed by a greeter who asked me enough about myself that I shared with him that my husband had recently moved from earth to eternity. He pointed to a man standing on the right side of the congregation, telling me with great emotion how this man’s wife had passed away suddenly just one week earlier.

About that time, I looked up on the announcement screen at the front of the sanctuary, and noted that her memorial service was scheduled for that afternoon. I intuited an instant connection with her as we shared amazingly similar names, ages, and families. My heart immediately felt pierced as I envisioned the shock and grief that her family was now experiencing. Tears sprung to my eyes as I sensed the inextricable connection of my family and her family wrapped up together, even though none of us had ever met in our physical bodies on this earth.

The entire service was beautiful that day, as if it were held just for me. It was about life and death and the forever nature of the Love of the Divine. Throughout the service and afternoon, I had the distinct impression that I was one of the recipients of the torch that she had passed on. Together, we were an intrinsic part of the “Circle of Life.”

One of my very special memories was the serendipitous way several years ago that my husband and I got last minute tickets to a NYC Broadway show of The Lion King. Although the musical boasted sold-out tickets several years in advance, we had read that there was a remotely possible way of getting tickets if you were willing to stand in the “will-call” line for several hours on the night of the performance that you wanted to see.

We decided to take our chances, and arrived early, expecting to wait for several hours, and knowing that even with that wait, we likely would not be successful in our attempt to buy tickets. However, after about 1 hour of waiting, we miraculously were called to the ticket window, and were able to purchase near front-row seats for the performance that night. We literally could have reached out and touched the parade of stunning “animals” as they blithely passed us.

We never regretted that purchase, because the show was truly stupendous in every way. And, the most compelling song in the musical was “Circle of Life”–sung as a comfort to one of the characters in the show whose parent had passed on.

“From the day we arrive on the planet

And blinking, step into the sun;

There’s more to see than can ever be seen,

More to do than can ever be done.

There’s far too much to take in here,

More to find than can ever be found;

But the sun rolling high

Through the sapphire sky,

Keeps great and small on the endless round.


It’s the Circle of Life.

And it moves us all,

Through despair and hope,

Through faith and love,

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding,

In the Circle,

The Circle of Life.”

(music by Elton John; lyrics by Tim Rice)

Those of us still remaining in our physical bodies on this earth after the death of a loved one often talk about the “veil” that divides earth and eternity. Is that veil–or at least part of that veil–a creation of our own making? Could an even truer reality be that those divisions are illusions, and that life actually transpires in a continuous “circle”?

Why do we tend to see endings as so definitively final? Could endings and beginnings be mere constructs that we erect in an attempt to divide earth from eternity when such divisions are not necessary? What if we reframed the ending of the earthly body’s existence by remembering that all endings always lead to new beginnings, even if we are resistant? Perhaps the image of a “circle” of life could help us see that the soul knows no stopping and starting, but it experiences a continuous cyclical presence.

We don’t have to wait until we die to realize that our life has meaning. Now, in this moment.  Even as we reflect the Love, Joy, Beauty & Peace of the omnipresent All-There-Is. Even when our reflection isn’t perfectly polished. Even as our imperfectness paves the way for the perfectionism that is to come. And, when we celebrate a life well-lived that has discarded the earthly body, we receive yet one more reminder that we are One in the cyclical and Ever-Existing Spirit.

Let’s be about a life well-lived! Filled with purposeful choices. Allowing the Divine to shine through us. And, we will know that our place in the “circle of life” matters. Both for ourselves and for others.

Whose life can you remember today, as you commit to living your unique Beauty?

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