Yesterday would’ve been my Granny’s 100th birthday. She died five years ago, just one day shy of her 95th birthday and just two hours shy of a big surprise birthday party we had planned for her. That day certainly did not turn out as I expected, but as I reflect back, I can see that my Granny used it to teach me one last lesson before she left this earth: Draw a wider circle. Let me explain.
I think much of the way we view life is myopic. Shortsighted. We can’t see farther than the nose on our own face. We draw tiny little circles that keep us in and others out. And then we wonder why we feel alone. Or different. Or unaccepted. We draw tiny little circles that limit the possibilities to only one. And then we wonder why we feel trapped. Or hopeless. Or stuck.
That day my Granny died, I wanted to bury my head under the covers and pretend it didn’t happen. That’s a tiny little circle with just me in it. Well, just me and my hurt. And we do that so often. We think we’re the only one hurting… or lonely… or different… or fill-in-the-blank. But my Granny never ever had a tiny circle. No, quite the contrary. She was always looking for a way to draw a wider circle… to pull someone else in so she could share Jesus with them. So, that’s exactly what my sisters and I did that day. We drew a wider circle. The party was still on, and in fact, we had even more to celebrate. Granny wasn’t going to live to 95… my small circle. She was going to live for all eternity… draw a wider circle.
If I’m honest, I still get stuck in small circles sometimes. I’ll start thinking there must be something more… more fun, more special, more excitement, more purpose, more something… but somehow it’s out of my reach. Everybody is surely having more fill-in-the-blank than I am. Or sometimes it’s the opposite… Everybody surely doesn’t have all the fill-in-the-blank that I have to deal with. But the truth is, I’m only trapped by unnecessary boundaries of a very small circle that I, myself, have drawn. I can draw a wider circle and reach out and invite someone in. I can draw a wider circle and expand the possibilities past the impossible.
As followers of Christ, especially in times like these where dividing lines are being drawn continually, we should draw a wider circle.
I can draw a circle to shut you out,
Alone and different. There’s no doubt.
Or I can draw a circle that let’s you in,
Where God’s love and grace will surely win.
Small circles are a sign of a small God. Who wants to draw a wider circle with me?