One of the funniest moments around my house is trying to get my four-year-old to understand that the “Lion Guard” TV show that he watches now is a spinoff of the movie that came out when his dad was a little kid, “The Lion King.” He argues different points about the character Kiyon and how Simba is his father, so on and so forth, while I tell him that Simba once was a baby and Mufasa was his father. Though we argue in fun over these characters, there is one thing that I've always loved that is central to the core of “The Lion King.” That is the idea of the cyclical nature of life or what they term as the "circle of life."
Many people view life just as linear as the dates etched on a tombstone, this year - that year. However, in a true calculation, life is a series of circles.
We experience things and over time, we experience variations of the same experiences. These experiences are all connected as well. Something begins, goes its course, ends and begins again.
It's all a beautiful process that at times has painful experiences. But it always makes us better, stronger and wiser.
This entire month, from college, high school and even preschool, we've celebrated young people and their accomplishments in their road to maturation.
The beautiful thing about the word commencement is its dual meaning, to end and begin. Though they are ending the experience they are leaving, they are now about to embark upon new experiences, but those new experiences will be a variation on what they've already seen.
The interesting thing though is that after college, a lot of times, we forget the idea of commencement for the non-graduate. Though we may not be walking through the halls of academic institutions there are different life experiences that we encounter that cause commencements in our lives. Whether it is deaths, retirements, weddings, births, etc…
There is wisdom that we all can glean for our own Iives while we all experience our various commencements. The book of Proverbs tells us numerous times in all of our getting, get understanding. Having an understanding allows for us to see things clearly and make sound and intelligent decisions. It also prevents us from having any type of misunderstanding. When we get and understanding, we are able to converse with facts and compassion and not ideology or frustration. Proverbs also lends itself to the wisdom of Guarding ones heart, speaking with purity and staying focused (4:23-25).
The heart, or in this context, the mind is the seat of all of our emotions and thoughts and everything we do comes from there. Therefore we must guard our minds so that we don't become provoked to act out of character. We must make sure that we always speak truth and that we live up to those words, because truly our word is our bond. And in order to accomplish anything in life we must find a level of focus that will allow us to achieve excellence.
As we continue celebrating the accomplishments of these fine young people, let us not forget that we are all on this journey called life and the cycle of commencement never ends. We all are experiencing some type of ending just to begin again. This week gain a better understanding, guard your heart, speak well and find a level of focus and it will help you to do good, do no harm and stay in love with the divine.