This morning, I stood in a circle as my cousin blessed his newborn baby boy. As I contemplated this circle, my thoughts turned to my future children and to the pattern enacted by the ordinance this morning. As I have not yet been blessed with children, I thought that this would be an appropriate occasion to contemplate some of what I felt with them in mind.
The circle surrounding each newborn echoes circles that will encompass them throughout their life. Circles including confirmation to the Church, priesthood ordinations, blessings of comfort, setting apart blessings, circles formed around altars of the temple, circles of family study and prayer, and ultimately a circle carrying them to their resting place at the close of mortality. Such circles turn the mind to lingering traces of the arms of redeeming love that encircled us prior to birth and that may again encircle us.
Similar circles may accompany occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, and other events and commemorations that turn the mind forward and backward. Such times cause reflection and contemplation. One is reminded of the pattern and way of life.
During times of pondering and meditation, a biography of sorts shows itself. This biography may include learning about family, both immediate and extended. Knowing the members of the circles of our lives enriches our understanding of our roots and deepens our appreciation for what we now have. Likewise, we may come to know our family of faith, learning of pioneers, patriarchs, and ultimately of Father and Son. All of these form a part of our own biographies. We are shaped and informed in large measure by these familial biographies.
Another biographical sketch that we may benefit from annotating and keeping current is a biography of our testimony. Certain events of life mark us indelibly and teach us of ourselves in inimitable ways. When we experience such phenomena, we live the writing of the biography of our testimony. Whether recorded or not, this biography of testimony becomes a foundation to an integrated life. As spiritual truths are integrated, welded together, and allowed to yield more truth, we participate in the authorship of this biography: a book of life.
In reflecting this evening on the baby blessing this morning, I am reminded of the many circles of which I have been a part, as well as others formed to surround me. My biography, both of family and of testimony, has been shaped and marked by members of these circles. I anticipate forming additional circles, and ultimately being marked by the marks as the Savior encircles me in the arms of His love.
I hope to allow the in-progress book of (my) life to fully imprint upon me the image and countenance of the Lord, such that I may experience the eternal round that will return me to the loving embrace echoed in the circles I envision for my children, and that I hope will form around me upon my departure from this mortal sphere.