The Beauty of Things Coming Full Circle
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Full circle: “When something comes full circle, it completes a cycle, returns to its beginnings: ‘The novelist’s vision of human life has come full circle — from optimism to pessimism and back to optimism again.’” We return back to the place we started from…but with a new set of eyes.
Timing & making sense of why things happen the way they do is such a tricky thing. Why can’t things happen the way we want & when we want? Why is the universe so indifferent–it definitely (the universe) does not discriminate, it allows bad things to happen to good people every single day! One thing is for certain, our prayers may not be answered when we want them to be or how we want them to be , but they are always answered….and in time, the fog clears and the answers begin to make sense.
When it came time for me to apply to colleges, I knew that the ONLY school for me was Stanford University….visions of Cardinals danced in my eyes. My parents and school counselor Mr. LeRoy insisted I choose a handful of “back-up plan” schools to apply to as well. If it had been up to me, I would’ve applied to Stanford only, because that was truly the only school I envisioned myself going to and seriously, why on earth am I going to pour my heart into writing essays for “back-up plan” schools when I don’t even truly have any desire to go there? Ohh the rationale of a 17 year old who thinks she has it all figured out *shaking my head*. So… fast forward to the day I received that oh-so-tiny envelope in the mail (sob sob) from Stanford saying that unfortunately I was not accepted into their fine institution and thus shattering my heart and my dreams into tiny microscopic pieces. I. Was. A. Mess. I was so broken. The eternally happy, optimistic 17-year-old girl was suddenly overcome by emotions that were so foreign to her. I was so incredibly sad, defeated and (dare I say) depressed. I felt like my life was over….all my hard work had been for nothing, dreams crushed. As someone who pretty much would wake up in the morning with a smile on her face, the next week at school was such a challenge. What’s the point? It was painful how hard it was for me to smile that entire next week, something that is normallythe easiest, most effortless thing in the world for me.
Enter Steve Scott – one of my favorite high school teachers, mentors, a true inspiration and someone who is still to this day is a very dear friend of mine. He asked me to go for a walk so we could chat as he had noticed how upset I was. As we walked, we talked, I opened up, I cried, and he listened so intently. At the end of our chat, he dug out his Day Planner (yes, you heard me right, I said Day Planner, we didn’t have iPhones when I was in high school). I asked him what he was doing and he said “I’m scheduling a meeting with you for 5 years from today.” Wiping my tears, I asked him why and he said with certainty, “Because I guarantee, though it doesn’t make sense to you now, in five years it WILL all make sense. I bet you anything you will be so happy with the way things worked out and where you are in your life.” Well, a man of his word, Steve kept his promise to me and we chatted on the phone five years from that date. I had just moved toLos Angeles after graduating from one of my “back-up plan” schools. After catching up, he asked me if I was happy and if it all made sense to me now.
This question stopped me in my tracks. Wow. He was right. It 100% made sense to me now. My journey had been amazing. The ocean had been my backyard for the past four years. I had made the BEST friends in the universe that are truly like family to me and I cannot imagine my life today without them in it. I had joined a sorority and met some of the most amazing people ever. I had started playing guitar my freshman year and got weekly lessons and jam sessions from my friend Cory in the dorms. I had been a volunteer with a “Meals on Wheels” organization that delivered healthy meals to the homes of people with AIDS. I had done an internship at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and was now about to start a full time job there. Amazingly, I would hold this job for more than 14 years, going all the way to Leno’s final show this past February and my fellow staffers ended up becoming my extended family. I could go on forever. I could NOT imagine this not being my life, I could not imagine my life had I gone to Stanford! Steve was right. The answers didn’t come the way I wanted them to or when I wanted them to, but they came and it all made sense to me now. I could see clearly now, the answers all made sense. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” as Coach Taylor would famously say to encourage his team on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.”
Steve and I have continued our friendship over the years. He’s such an inspiring human being and lives a life so full of love for his family and his students. When I think of him and how he leads his life, he truly is the image and likeness of God.
My second year after college, Steve and I started this thing where we would check in at least once a month and email each other five blessings in our lives (anything we were thankful for – sometimes obvious blessings and other times indirect blessings where important lessons were learned) and we’ve continued that for many years. It’s been such a really great activity to do and it is truly a good reminder of just how many blessings there are in our everyday lives.
As I said earlier, there truly is such beauty found in things coming full circle. In a very recent conversation with Steve, he shared with me his longtime desire to play music, and he is finally opening the door to this dream that’s been brewing inside of him for so long. He’s been practicing his guitar religiously and he feels like he is very SLOWLY learning. Not having had any lessons as a child, he said that it truly feels like a foreign language to him at times and it can get so frustrating and discouraging. Despite feeling that he is klutzy and imperfect when playing, there is something pushing him to keep on practicing. Music just has this magical ability to get us out of our heads and into our hearts in the most powerful way. Steve shared with me that music has been such a powerful guide in his life, but he always had to play a passive part. His dream is to play guitar well enough that he can song lead one day on an upcoming school retreat and sing a song he has written himself.
Well (lightbulb moment), the beauty of things coming full circle is that universe presents us with these beautiful opportunities to give back…and this process of giving back is truly one of life’s greatest gifts. This was it!! This was my opportunity to give back and I was NOT about to let it pass me by and miss it.
I asked Steve to get out his iPhone iCalendar (oh, how times have changed!), as I wanted to schedule an appointment with him for three years from the date of our conversation – March 17, 2017. I told him that when I call him in three years, I am going to ask him how his musical pursuits are coming along and how many times he has played at those school retreats. This is so exciting to me, as I cannot WAIT to hear how many lives he has continued to touch in this new and special way.
Oh, the beauty of things coming full circle. The universe constantly gives us these incredible opportunities. Maybe when you were undergoing treatment your friends and caregivers put their amazing love into action. Gifts, visits, food, movies, laughs, love, and so on. And now you are better and are faced with an opportunity to give back, lend a hand and be the caregiver yourself! Never miss an opportunity to help others. We all must do out part to keep the beautiful circle of love and kindness going!! As Ziggy Marley famously sings “We got to give a little love, have a little hope, make this world a little better. Try a little more, harder than before, let’s do what we can do together.”
** I dedicate this article to not only Steve Scott but to ALL the teachers and mentors who have made a huge impact on my life. Namely Bill “Hutt” Hutton, Bernie LeRoy, Tom Motroni, Paul Sampson, Phil Sumner, Sandra Mack, Jennifer Matos Stevens and Brenda Ludwig.**