( Tuesday, June 29, 2010 )

The Swing O' Life

I was talking to my mom tonight, and she reminded me about this post I'd written who-knows-how-long-ago. I had completely forgotten about it, so while she was talking I kept thinking, "I'm pretty sure that wasn't me."

Turns out it was. Many moons ago, back when I was much smarter and certainly better looking, I had another blog, which I lovingly christened Multum-in-Parvo (Latin for "Much in little" -- which I liked to think summarized my petite physicality and gigantic ego). Apparently I wrote a few posts that actually went beyond the usual gibberish I've been spewing out on this blog. Such is life.

Anyway. I found the post--written back in May of 2005--and it seemed like an appropriate reminder to myself. How about that?

~ * ~

The Swing O' Life

In my last post I mentioned how much I loved to swing (on the swings). I also said I like to go for walks. Well, the other night while I was trying to waste some time I did both. I like walking at night because it's usually quiet, and it's nice and cool, and it just feels very peaceful -- good thinking time. And cigar-smoking time. MmMm.

Just before I got back to my house I stopped and sat on the swings for a little while and thought about life, yadda yadda (all of my introspection must be making some of you sick by now). And I was thinking about why it is I like to swing so much. See, the thing about swinging is that it's something that requires work, but the pay off is visible, it's noticeable. Once you're on the swing, you have to put in the effort to get yourself moving -- but once you do, you get to experience the reward. I think that is life in a super-condensed form. It seems to me that anything worth having in life will require effort, hard work. Sometimes the effect may not be obvious, it won't be visible, for a little while, but it's there nonetheless.

I think the swing set is a good description of the hard change of going from kid to adult (stick with me here). When you're a kid, you want to be pushed. You don't want to have to pump your legs, do the work, get yourself moving. You don't want to put in the effort -- you just want the result, to feel yourself swinging high and fast. When I worked on the Reserve in Fort Nelson, a lot of times we'd take the kids to the park for an afternoon, and the kids always wanted me to push them on the swing. But there was only one of me, and I could only push so many so fast, so some kids just had to wait. I tried to teach them how to get the swing going on their own. I even showed them. And I think a couple actually learned. Yet even after all that, none of them would do it -- they just wanted me to push them. Kids are like that. They don't want to put in the effort, to work for anything -- they want dad to do it for them. And believe me, that isn't a bad thing. That's a part of growing up (both for the parent and the kid).

There's an age, though, where dad isn't there to push. No one is there to do the work for you. And you have to decide, is it worth the effort to get the swing going or not? I think that moment of decision is a line that has to be crossed to move from kid to adult. Awhile ago I wrote about how I still felt like a kid, and how would I know when I wasn't? I quoted 1 Corinthians 13:11:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

I think the moment you decide that you're going to do the work yourself, you're going to stop relying on someone else to push the swing, that's when you begin to put "childish ways behind [you]".

I think the swings give a lot of other parallels to life. I was thinking about how long it feels like since I've sat on the swings with another person (other than the kids at work). The swings can be a solitary place or a place shared with someone else. In life, I think there's going to be a lot of time where it needs to be solitary. Being alone is, I think, a basic requirement (a temporary one, yes, but important) to learn self-identity and learning to know God and how He sees you and growing into that adult mindset that you had to embrace when you began moving the swing yourself. But somewhere down the line, the swing beside you is going to be occupied by someone else. Remember when you were a kid and if you were swinging beside someone and happened to get in the same rhythm as them everyone would say you were "in the bathtub together"? (Or was that just me?!) Well, in a non-sick way (though technically, if you're married, it could mean...oh never mind) I think it's pretty true -- that other person is going to be swinging right beside you. And I think that's what love really is -- it's sharing the same rhythm, being right beside someone else. And when they can't swing anymore, when they don't have the energy or they're hurt or confused or broken, you get off your swing and go give them a push. I think that is how God wanted marriage to be.

Ok, I gotta go to work now. Feel free to chew on this or spit it out.