Everybody grows up loving to swing. I can remember testing the limits of swing-sets with my brother Gary. We’d swing in unison, trying the get the front or back supports of the swing set to come out up out of the ground. Fortunately not many did. At other times, we’d pump and push as hard as we could and see who could get the highest swing. Eventually, we’d launch ourselves out to see who could “jump” the farthest. Even today, if I can find a swing set big enough–one with its supports firmly planted, I’ll first make sure no one is looking. Then I’ll climb in and feel again the front-back pull of gravity, the wind rushing by, the stretching forward and the leaning back, and memories of days gone by.
Lisa Graham McMinn compares contentment to the motions of swinging. She writes:
Mellowness of heart does not excuse brokenness or accept injustice simply because heaven awaits. In swinging, one movement involves stretching out, leading back and being carried the sky. The other involves leaning forward, legs tucked, building momentum as one rushes back toward the earth. Mellowness of heart grows from a commitment to partner with God to work toward healing and shalom—to speak truth to and of relationships, social structures, and political, religious and economic institutions. Mellowness of heart is not passive, even if it is a place of grace.
In my search for balance, maybe there’s a lesson in the swing.