When We Want A Straight Line

My life doesn’t seem to fit on a linear timeline. In fact, I’m finding, and maybe you are too, it follows a more circular looking pattern.

All I want to do is get from here to there, preferably in a straight line. Even a jagged zig-zag line would suffice. But when I look back through the years, I see the most common shape on the map is not what I expected, nor what I wanted. Instead of strong lines shooting up mountain peaks, across valleys, and through forests, I see circles.

Circles overlapping circles overlapping circles, forming too many messy spirals across the page for my liking.

The only consistency is in the curves.

Moments when I thought I was moving forward, showing some signs of progress, I was merely circling back around again for the second or third time.

Those “new seasons” I felt weren’t marked by a distinct line shooting off down an unknown path, but only the beginning of another round of dizzying circles, still closely connected to the previous place.

Questions I asked when I was 18, I am still asking at 36.

Issues we dealt with in our newlywed years are cropping up at the 10-year mark.

My journals hold evidence of my circular wanderings.

The thoughts and struggles I had when I was single remain with me as a mother of four.

Where is the growth, I wonder? You too?

We quickly condemn ourselves for our “unhealthy” patterns.

Shouldn’t we be through this, over that, or beyond there by now? I thought I was supposed to learn my lesson? Why is this popping up again?

We define maturity as moving forward, becoming better, forgiving quicker, and healing faster. The lines of our life are continually flowing towards something, instead of circling back around in a sickening cycle.

When will the spinning stop?

Maybe there’s something wrong with me?

Let’s step back for a second. This is where I want us to take note- we are caught up in a culture that idolizes growth. Think about it. Do you see it, feel it? How obsessed we’ve become with measuring our progress on the invisible timeline, ranking ourselves, and comparing our place with the person beside us. Always trying to achieve, advance, to the next level in our spirituality, our business, our life.

When, what if, we are all just rotating around on this big beautiful globe with our hair blowing in the breeze? 

The map of our life isn’t linear its layered and multi-dimensional. We get a kick about seeing where we’ve come from, with the hopes of recognizing how far we’ve come, only to realize, if we’re honest, we haven’t come that far.

Rather than depressing this can be so freeing! Our lives are up and down, sideways and straight, around and around, beneath and above.

Progress rarely looks like taking a step forward, setbacks don’t mean we have somehow fallen behind,and being stuck doesn’t equal a dead end.

I guess what I’m trying to persuade us to think about is this: what if our growth as a human being, this journey we are on, what if the steps we take and improvements we seek to make in all areas of our life are best seen as circular instead of linear?

A waltzing sort of dance, an un-timed and uncharted run, a hysterical, wild ride, an adventure without a distinct destination besides love?

I see so many of us, myself included, we’re all trying to make it there, aren’t we? But real life keeps tossing us about, throwing us overboard, kicking us off course, making us dizzy, leaving us bewildered. We lose our traction on the daily.

I’m starting to think the healthiest people are those who release their need to get there, and instead become familiar with making the rounds, expecting the cycles, and welcoming the spiraling of this wind-whipped life?

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