Much of life is defined by cycles. I happen to be in a more than usually cyclical area of time within this part of the year. For example, I am seeking to finish up my preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles, which is part of an annual cycle of Holy Day observances that help ground my year. With regards to religious matters, there are many cycles that are discussed in the Bible to help mark time and hit the reset the button and start again, as every new day starts at sunset, every week starts at the end of the Sabbath, every month starts at the new moon, every year starts at the Spring of the year, and that is not even to mention Sabbath years and Jubilees, all of which hit some sort of reset button that allows people to start again . It is unclear why exactly there is the need for such cycles of starting again, although it is likely that God was aware that we would screw up and that we would need an endless repetition of second chances to wipe the slate clean. After all, we are told to forgive our brethren seventy times seven if they should repent and start again on the right path, something which for personal reasons I remember all too well.
Yesterday evening while I was engaged in an epic writing mood where I wrote three book reviews and my entry on North American soccer, I happened to listen to the presidential debate that was going on in the living room, although I would have preferred not to have listened to it at all, I was still snappish about it when someone asked me about it while I was trying to peacefully read during my lunch break. Without going into too much detail, it was a pretty disgraceful scene. Elementary schoolers would have shown more decorum running for student body president than these two people did running for the President of the United States. The fact that one of those people is almost certainly going to hold such a noble office is something that ought to fill us with a great deal of shame and embarrassment, and we have no one to blame for this state but ourselves. This is our mess, and we have to own it. Come two years time there will be another chance to vote out some of the people in office now, and come four years time there will be another election where there will be more promises and lies and hope, and the chance to more or less hit the reset button and start over, although our voters have been disinclined to do this over the past few decades, as there hasn’t been a one-term president since before I was a teenager.
While I was listening to my relaxing music during the course of the day, I decided to choose a song to listen to that is not one I can remember having heard in a long time. The song by Carly Simon, “Coming Around Again,” had been hanging around my recommended videos, apparently because of my fondness for adult contemporary songs , and it had been a respectable hit for Carly Simon, hitting #18 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart, accounting for it vaguely being in my memory but not being on my radar. The song itself appears to be about Carly Simon in love with someone else despite the wreck of her first marriage, and the song appears on the soundtrack to the generally forgotten movie Heartburn. The song has held up better, and it remains quite touching even now. There are definitely some people I know who could relate to this song particularly well, and it too looks at a cycle, in the sense that after the end of one relationship, there is quite naturally the search for another one, even if one is a bit more cynical and wounded afterward.
Yet in many ways that cynicism hurts us at least as much as it helps us. We all know from painful experience that life and the people in it do not always bring happiness, and that other people can be untrustworthy, unreliable, and far worse. Yet at the same time we all travel through life with deep longings that often require us to fulfill our own dreams and ambitions and goals through some sort of intimate bonds with other people. These bonds may be between band members who share a musical ambition, it may be between husbands and wives or parents and children, it may be between partners starting or working together in a business, or it may be between people engaged in mutual publishing projects or something else of that nature. Whatever it is, few of us can get what we want out of life without the consent and cooperation and effort and encouragement of others. And yet others are continually letting us down, even as we are letting others down at least as often. What does it take for a reset button to give a fair chance to someone, or a genuine wiping away of the slate, so that there can be a chance for someone to prove that if they are willing to play the game that good times may just come around again, instead of playing the same old cynical song over and over again in our lives, the same as all the times before.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: