Pentecost 31

Pentecost 31
My Psalm 31

July 8, 2014

Welcome…Again and Again

Recently someone asked me about people who come into our lives and then leave, only to reappear. It is an interesting thing to ponder. Are there cycles in life and with our acquaintances? Certainly nature has cycles. Even planning a city or additions to existing metropolitan areas requires knowledge of the earth’s cycles.

An urban infrastructure is dependent upon an understanding of efficient and sustainable life processes. This understanding involves knowledge of rock, carbon, water, nitrogen, and energy cycles. STEM is the new buzz word in education but it is more than just a trend involving science, technology, engineering, and math studies. Our lives depend upon it.

The website for Science for Smart Cities, established by NYU-Poly explains the connection between urban living and the cycles of life, needed for life. “The water cycle cleans and delivers fresh water to organisms throughout the planet; however this process is relatively slow compared to the amount of water demanded from our society. Water resource and environmental engineers work to build sustainable infrastructures to harvest fresh water from the earth. The carbon cycle determines the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. The transfer of carbon to the atmosphere via the use of fossil fuels contributes to global warming. Various types of engineers work to develop infrastructure that is energy efficient, carbon neutral and sustainable. The rock cycle affects the stability of the earth’s surface, which is relevant to the work of Geotechnical Engineers as they are responsible for determine whether a given surface is safe for construction and engineering ways to make it safe. The nitrogen cycle affects our food supply. Farmers and food growers use many fertilizers and chemicals that can run off into the surrounding environment and disturb the amount of nitrogen in adjacent habitats. As a result, runoff must be minimized.”

How does this convey to our interpersonal relationships? Dating is said to be one of the most “vicious” cycles on earth. It is described as being one of three cycles – flightiness, that stage in which the other person occupies your every waking moment and thought; abusive, the relationship that starts out sweet but quickly becomes possessive and controlling; unrequited love, the perfect relationship…except for that one little thing such as their homosexuality, another partner or spouse, distance, disinterest to take the relationship to that next level by the object of your affection, etc – nothing that you are positively, absolutely certain you can’t overcome…except, of course, you cannot.

Marriage is also said to have cycles. The first is the romancing period, followed by the expectations period and then the cycle of power struggles and control. Some of these cycles may last over years, depending on the couple. The fourth stage is often called “The Seven Year Itch” although it can occur at three years or thirty years. Things become humdrum, partners start asking themselves if this is all there is to their lives. Hopefully, if stage four is survived stage five involves reconciliation and cooperation. Life and marriage are all about compromise. Maintaining one’s identity is important and a new identity as a couple must be realized. Finally comes the stage six of acceptance and collaboration and with that mutuality.

When the question was posed to me, though, it was more about reconnecting with old friends. Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that women tend to recycle their friends every seven years. According to the research, friendships have a life cycle just as other things in our life. As our lives evolve and change, so do our friends.

Dino Basili once said: “the perfect journey is circular…the joy of departure and the joy of return.” On another day we will discuss the real circle of life but I would like to offer that reconnecting with old friends might just be the time machine we’ve all so often dreamed about discovering. We get to revisit not only the previous friendship but also relive our lives as we catch the other person up on everything that has transpired. We get to reevaluate past events with fresh, hopefully more mature eyes. We can go back in time and learn but also realize what we’ve gained, what strengths we’ve acquired.

There really is no use crying over spilled milk so making a new friendship from an old one allows us the chance to make one last swipe and clean the floor for good before walking past. We can trust and then decide whether to renew the friendship and make it stronger or just enjoy the knowledge that one there was a friendship and use that to build new ones. Sometimes an old friend can say what a new one cannot and sometimes a new friendship is built on the foundation of an older one.

Wherever we are in life, we have value. Whatever step we are on, it has purpose. We need to embrace the life that comes our way, learn from it, and find the love in it. Regardless of where we are on the cycle of our life’s circle, we must keep moving as love bids us welcome into the cycle of all living.

My Psalm 31

You are my comfort, O God.
In you I seek life.
In you is my hope.
You know my past;
You walk my present with me.
You are with me in my persecution.
You are with me in my pain.
Deliver me, O Lord, into your love.
I trust in you
As I live my future.
Your abundant grace and mercy
Will clothe me going forward.
I will love you with all my being.
Those of the Lord are strong and have courage.
O God, my faith will sustain me.

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