I love to swing. As a child, I was passionate about swinging. When you’re swinging, you’re concentrating on the pushing and pulling action to accelerate your momentum, pushing forward and pulling back with equal intensity. As you get into a rhythm, you hold the chain tighter, lean back, close your eyes, and feel the wind ride across your body. Pushing forward, stretching your legs as far as possible, you lean up to lighten the load, scanning the horizon or stretching out further to touch a tree limb that’s just within toe distance.
A few years before my mother died, we were visiting my daughter, Tia, and her girls in Maryland. It was a beautiful day, and the girls were clamoring to go to the park. Mother stood up with the girls, ready to go. When we got to the park, mom went straight to the swing. I watched as she sat down, pushed off and began her ascent. The higher she went, the more she smiled. I’ll never forget her saying, “My Daddy taught me to swing. He said you can touch heaven if you try real hard.”
I’ve thought about this picture many times when trials come or life gets burdensome.
Swing to heaven.
So I tried it. I went outside, sat in the swing, and began pushing and pulling, soaring as high as possible. It wasn’t long before I forgot the long day, the urgent prayer requests, and calls about health crisis. My goal was to tip my toe into heaven. To knock off some fluffy edge on a cloud or peel back the white to expose more blue. I felt joy. I knew I was smiling. So many things were lifted; I felt renewed and restored as the swing eased to a stop.
Since then I’ve taken pictures of my granddaughters swinging. I’ve sat at playgrounds and observed the intense joy children and adults have in the simple act of swinging. There is an abandonment and freedom.
Our lives are so cluttered with distracting elements, intense moments. Maybe swinging needs to be added to our life distractions to lighten our load. What would it hurt to go out and sit in a swing and forget everything but the moment? Swinging and renewing, putting all our trust into God and smiling because life is a beautiful gift.
I know it sounds simple, but sometimes simple is the answer. Life doesn’t have to be so complicated and filled to overflowing. We need to get back to playing. Watch children. Playing. Imagining. Creating. It’s a God thing.
I bet when I get to heaven, Jesus and I are going to be talking more about swinging, painting, and flower picking than death, cancer, anger, unforgiveness, and hurt.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to share some of the joyful activities with those whose lives seem tangled in a briar. Maybe we should invite them to a park to swing or to sit on the porch to rock.
Thankful for the simple pleasures in life that show us joy!