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home : religion : inspirational reflections September 16, 2019

8/18/2019 12:27:00 PM
The Circle Of Life
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

I recently went to see the newest version of “The Lion King” and was reminded how much I love the song “The Circle of Life” which comes during a celebration as a new baby lion is presented by his proud parents to the world. The entire jungle rejoices with them as the circle of life is so clearly seen from parent to child and child to parent. Little did they know what pain lay ahead in raising their lion cub in the circle of life.

I always wanted to be a mother. Of all the things God has done for me, giving me children was the greatest of all. As parents we stumble through raising our children, trying not to repeat the same mistakes our parents made and finding ourselves making new ones. As we experience the struggle of trying to live and raise children at the same time we look back at our own parents and understand them better. The longer I am a parent, the more human my own parents become in my eyes. As we make our mistakes, we see their parenting flaws in a new light, and it becomes easier to forgive them for their short comings in the circle of life.

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As I have seen my parents in my own mistakes, I realize how they must have needed my forgiveness because I needed my children to forgive me for the mistakes I made. This was quite a revelation for me. I have not been a perfect parent because I did not have perfect parents. I made mistakes when I was young and by the time, I learned a better way, my children were grown. When I thought about how deeply I wanted them to forgive me, God opened my eyes to my own parents and asked me to forgive as I was asking to be forgiven. This freed me from old resentments and healed my inner child’s wounds. They were doing the best they could with what they knew and who they were just as I had done. I found emotional freedom in the circle of life.

My children today have forgiven me for those toxic years, and we are very close. My daughter is 34 and has blessed me with two grandchildren who are the apple of my eye. I am young and healthy enough to enjoy raising children all over again with her. She is a homemaker and a much better parent than I was so I must have done some things right. Now I get to apply all the lessons life has taught me about parenting and do a better job this time without all the responsibility. My daughter is my best friend, and being a grandparent makes life new again in the circle of life.

My son is 30 and today I count him as my other best friend. He is an artist and a deep thinker who likes to analyze what went wrong in his childhood in order to recover from it. While these conversations have been painful, they have brought us closer and healed our family. He has forgiven me as I forgave my parents. Now he showers me with love and wants to bless me with his time and attention every chance he gets.

Pain and sorrow; love and forgiveness are ours in the circle of life from generation to generation.

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church and she can be reached at 828-962-8196 or

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