guest post by Richard Bingman
The term circle comes up very often and naturally in our everyday lives. When I was 11 years old, a song was sung at my grandmother’s funeral entitled, “Let the Circle be Unbroken.” I didn’t understand how the term circle would be related to her, particularly with her passing. At my level of understanding I merely accepted the situation and moved on.
A few years later, I was reading stories about circuit riders. They were ministers and judges in early America who traveled in a circle to serve many persons in need. Sometimes they would travel over a hundred miles and endure severe hardships of bad weather, personal illness and accidents, few roads, overloaded schedules, problems with horses, and little assistance However, they would rise to completing their “round” so their circle would remain unbroken, and they were ready to go again.
It seemed to me that this idea of a circle was somewhat similar to the case of my grandmother. She was born in early America, 1874, with a mission of meeting the needs of raising a large family. She was married in 1890 and gave birth to 13 children during the next 26 years. Twelve of them, two boys and 10 girls lived to be adults. One girl passed away at the age of two. Ten of the children were born in Kansas and Nebraska, three in Missouri.
Like the circuit riders, she endured many other problems. She was born in an undevelped area of North Central Kansas. There was little economic opportunity for a farm family of so many girls. So, they traveled over 400 miles from Nebraska to Missouri in a partially covered wagon with a cow attached. They had the usual problems with wagons and horses, and she had little help caring for 10 children. Only the oldest boy and girl was of much help. The father confined his assistance mainly to driving and maintaining the horses and wagon. Also, he enjoyed milking the cow.
In spite of the usual childhood diseases, everyone survived the trip. She had the idea that the Lord would provide. This belief was very timely as the father found some work for the children to pick strawberries and other fruits soon after they arrived in their new Missouri home.
Possibly, because her load of caring for and giving birth to so many children put an extra burden on her heart. She suffered congestive heart failure for many years prior to her passage. When I was six years old, I remember how she had to be “tapped” to remove the water that was putting pressure on her heart.
I remember most about the positive attitude my grandmother demonstrated during all of this ordeal. She did not complain. She seemed to believe that this was all part of the game, and she ended her mission in a positive way. Then, she like the circuit riders, would agree that her circle remained unbroken, and she would do it all over again.
Then, I was getting very interested in circle behavior. I remember watching the bubbles in some fish tanks. They always seemed to move up towards the surface in spite of how cloudy and dirty the water surrounding them was. This action suggested to me that the circular paths of our lives are like bubbles that can rise to their highest level in spite of problems and negative surroundings. From watching the action of the bubbles I felt relaxed and sensed satisfaction at being able to finish this story. So my circle remains unbroken as I proceed to write another one.
I had no idea when I started writing this story, that it would drive me to watching bubbles. However, just because you have no idea where writing a story will go, is that any reason not to make the first step?
Author Bio: Dr. Richard Bingman is a member of the Springfield, Mo. Unity Spiritual Center. He has had a long professional interest and experience in creating programs and articles of an educational and spiritual nature. During the past ten years he has developed his style of blending bits of his life experience with spiritual principles to create a spiritual message.
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