Life has cycles.
There are the micro-cycles, like the normal up’s and down’s of life, up’s and down’s we become more and more familiar with as we age. These micro-cycles are present no matter where we are in our life stages… everyone has “Happy” days, and “Please Lord, Let this day be over” days, days, for example, where things go swimmingly, and on the other end, days that Murphy must have thought about as he (an assumption) wrote his “Law”.
These do count as “cycles”. But I’m also counting the “seasons” of our lives as cycles as well.
These seasonal, spiral-like parts of our journey of life we come back around to every 20 (plus or minus) years or so. These cycles take longer to come around… but indeed cycles of human existence they are. They bring us around to view a particular part of our lives from one vantage point to another.
For example: Having the perspective of a child… as a child… is one thing. Having the perspective of a child… of one’s own child… as a parent… that’s a whole other thing. Having a mother or father… being a mother or father… and perhaps having to be a mother or father to our own mother or father – viewing the same thing but from a different perspective.
And some cycles bring an entirely new experience. I’ve never been in my 50’s before… and yet I’ve been experiencing things over these last 7 or 8 years that I’ve never felt before. I’ve been in a place of “assessment” – sometimes consciously (but mostly not) assessing my life… my choices, my journey, etc.
This is probably something I would not have done as deeply in my 30’s. And especially not in my 20’s. And yet, while I don’t think I have done this as deeply before as I am doing now, it still feels right. It feels like what’s happening in my life now is appropriate, it feels right. It feels like I am following the “cycle” well.
In these cycles, we “remember” differently. Seems these cycles can add seasoning to our memories.
I remember first watching the movie “Forest Gump” when it first came out back in the mid ‘90’s. What a classic movie. It’s classic because it touches on the various cycles of life. It speaks to the various seasons of our life-journey.
I first saw it when I was still in the Army. I was 28 years old, married five years, and one year away from starting seminary. As I look back now, 24 years later, I wonder what I knew about life back then! But I knew I liked the movie!
I knew, in its simplicity, it spoke to life in a way I may or may not have experienced, but perhaps in a subconscious way, I think I was aware enough to know this movie addressed – among other things – that deeper cyclic nature of life. The movie addresses “human-ness”, life, in its up’s and down’s, in it’s seasons and cycles, in its spirals and awarenesses.
It touches on what it means to give ones-self wholly to life, a call we all feel at one point or another. It addresses the losing of oneself in an activity. As a runner, I sure know what it means to be in that place where your body is doing one thing, and your spirit is doing another… and your brain is pretty much taking a vacation. You just run… and things sort of sort themselves out as they need to sort themselves out. Forrest is right – when you need to run, you run. And when you need to stop, you stop.
The movie is about love. But not just about loving a partner, a mate, but a friend too. I do think Gump loved his friend Bubba. And he for sure loved and respected Lieutenant Dan. And the whole story with LT. Dan is its own story – the story of needing to make peace with one’s creator, and with life. And of course Jenny had her own issue to work through. Wrap all that up in one movie and you sure do have a story about life- in all its facets and challenges and ups and downs!
It’s a story about growing up… about a boy that becomes a man. But what makes him a man? Any man with any depth will ask themselves this question too – on more than one occasion, and in more than one way. And yet he seems to never lose his “boyhood”. In all his experiences of life – up’s and down’s – Forest Gump never seems to lose his innocence. He grows to be a man… but seems to always be a boy though too. And then he becomes a father – you can just hear the record skip at that point in the movie when Jenny tells him the little boy he just met is his son.
I remember the day I saw my daughter for the first time. I somehow knew something would happen… that that little girl in the orphanage would be part of our lives and we would be part of hers. I remember the day my son was born. I remember that evening, seeing him being born, then hearing his voice for the first time just 2 seconds later.
And I have been “meeting” my kids again – anew, as they also go through their seasons and cycles. Same kid for sure, but… different. And I’m different too.
There sure is a lot of loneliness in that movie. There’s a lot of struggling and fighting… and lot of redemption, too. And pain of loss, and peace. And now, 24 years later, I can relate to these things a whole lot more. It was a good movie at 28. At 52, well, it’s a down-right classic!
I can see the cycles, the seasons, a little more clearly now than I could decades ago… and they seem more real… more right. I can see the “human-ness” a lot more clearly in all this now… and it too seems right. In its classic-ness, “Forest Gump” reminds us of all this. And it reminds us to be aware… aware of the depth of the seasons and cycles. And even if we’re not always fully aware of what they might mean… they ultimately mean we’re here and alive!