By Anne McKee / Contributing writer
No matter the age, we all remember this song. It was recorded by many of the big names in country/bluegrass music: Mother Maybelle Carter, Merle Travis, and Earl Scruggs, to name a few, and in 1972 revived in an album by the same name, with the voices of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The song tells of the death of the writer’s mother:
I was standing by my window,
On one cold and cloudy day
When I saw that hearse come rolling
For to carry my mother away.
Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, Lord, by and by
There’s a better home a-waiting
In the sky, Lord, in the sky.
A sad song, but reality … you know – death and taxes, but wait a minute. The real message is the phrase, “there’s a better place a-waiting.” Included is the hope … that we keep the circle unbroken until that time.
The circle is a simple shape, comforting and all inclusive – no outsiders, everyone has a place. Just to see it is soothing to the soul, simple and unrefined. From the beginnings of time, the circle emulated the Sun and the Moon, giving hope and promise to earth-dwellers. In Plato’s Seventh Letter the circle is given a prominent place in all of creation … the perfect circle. So it has been down through the centuries that scholars acknowledged the ultimate importance of the circle.
Why the circle?
The unbroken circle – uninterrupted, continuous, whole and unified … without blemish, sound-and-secure. I know this is the hope of humanity. We repeat the concept many ways throughout our lives. With the unbroken circle we can give testimony to the completeness of life. We offer the great desire of peace to our families, friends, and to even those we do not know. After all isn’t peace our ultimate goal in life?