Being 360 in the world can mean several things. For me, it can mean that I am seeing full-circle. It can mean that at one time I'm aware of things in all directions. And it can mean that my attention for the world goes all round me.
There have been times in my life when I have only looked down at my feet for the next steps. My focus only looking down. And there have been times in my life my focus was on looking back. Almost as though I was trying to live in the past and un-do or re-do something that was gone.
This past week while having lunch with my friend, Barbara this notion of 360° came to life. I was telling her about our trip this past summer to Kenya and about being out on the Masai Mara. On safari as we were driven around we stood up and looked out for hours at a time. Sometimes I was looking for animals, and other times I was lost in the vastness of that space. I hope I long remember what living into 360 felt like. Standing in the rover and looking round and round, as far as my eyes could see. I’m from the Midwest and my best description of the Mara is that long stretch on I-70 that goes from west Kansas into eastern Colorado. Rolling flats with hills out on the far part of what you can see. Those hours on the Masai Mara felt like living in the fullness of time. I felt a freedom I’d never felt before and at the very same time I felt held in time.
When I think about 360 I am also aware of the strength of the circle. Barbara and I talked about how so much of life feels circular. Often the lessons we learn, we are in truth re-learning. Stories come round and sometimes back round again. As I think of life as being circular, I am aware that the life-circle is only get bigger, allowing more and more inside.
And 360 is a good image to hold onto with the coming of the holidays. Now as the boys are growing up, we’ve moved from the time of Santa’s gifts under the tree to the times when the boys are now buying and wrapping presents for family. I remember giving my grandmother Bobbee a hard time for crying during the carols, and now I’m crying before the songs even begin. Circles coming ‘round again.
And as the holidays come round, I miss my parents and family members who are no longer there sitting around the table. I hold on to those holiday memories from years’ past and carry them with me. 360 allows for all of it.
360 invites me to think about this circle of life getting bigger and broader all the time. 360 invites me to see more. T.S. Eliot wrote “in our end is our beginning” and I’m so thankful for that beginning and our beginning again.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.