Tale of Three Swings

the swing

             My husband Sheldon is not a carpenter by trade, but he enjoys messing around in his garage, fashioning things from scraps of wood, and in general relaxing from hectic life-demands.  That is how it came to be that he decided to build each of our three children a porch swing.
            For days, he examined swings at various stores, road-side wood project shops, and patterns.  Finally, he designed a pattern that he felt was suitable for up to three people of any weight to be able to sit together and enjoy a good relaxing swing.
             For many weeks he came home from his office and his daily work, and went to the shop to work on the swings.  It was not easy, but he had a goal in mind, and was determined.  He gathered the wood materials from a local lumber yard; purchased a few tools he didn’t have in his shop, and set out on the project.  Each slat had to be cut to his specs, sanded until there was no splinter to catch any little legs of future grandchildren that might one day be sitting there with their parents.  As he carefully measured each slat to line up just right to make a comfortable roll at the front and back of the swing, he had an anticipated excitement that the project was coming together.  After completing the first swing, he covered the swing with several coats of stain, and polyurethane so it could stand up to the weather.  He purchased a heavy duty chain set, and the swing was almost ready.  Using a wood-burning tool to add a personal design on the back of the swing, he was ready to present this work of his hands to his oldest daughter.
            Not long afterward, he began the second swing, and then the third.  Each received the same care and joy as he fashioned the swing for one of his children. (He did decide to leave out the wood-burning touch since this proved much more difficult than he had originally anticipated.)
            That was many years ago.  The first swing, as far as I know, still hangs on an A-frame  in the back yard – somewhat tied together with rope, and showing much weather and age.  The second swing – after many years of hanging from a post frame out in the backyard; a place where each of the family and the three grandchildren rested throughout the day, finally just fell apart and was used as kindling on the burn pile.  The third swing, after being stored, unused for many years, was given away.
            I pondered this the other day as I was traveling an isolated section of interstate; when mile upon mile of highway stretched endlessly before my windshield.  It seems that at times like this my mind has clarity to think on things that often go unthought-of when engaged in the hectic pace of daily living.
            Each of these swings was fashioned by a father’s loving hands, to bring joy and restfulness to his children, and possibly his coming grandchildren.  Though each of the children used the swing in different ways, it didn’t change the father’s original desire and purpose in building the swings.  It was love.
            How like my heavenly Father when he looked across eternity so long ago and set forth his Master plan in Psalm 139, to design my parts in secret, to write all my members in His book, to fashion me in His own individual and personal plan.  How wonderful to know that His thoughts toward me were, and still are, thoughts of peace and not evil according to His word in Jeremiah. 
            I, like the swings, am the workmanship of a loving Father, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).  My choices are many, just as my availability to be used as the Father planned; or not, is a decision only I can make.
            A song by Audrey Meire that I remember from my childhood sings in my heart this day as I write this reverie:

“I’ve a yearning in my heart that cannot be denied,
It’s a longing that has never yet been satisfied.
I want the world to know the One who loves them so,
Like a flame it’s burning deep inside.

                                                                                                     To be used of God,
                                                                                            to sing, to speak, to pray;
                                                                        to be used of God to show someone the way.
                                                               I long so much to feel the touch of His consuming fire;
                                                                                      to be used of God is my desire.”

            Yes, I AM His workmanship, and I so desperately desire to live in that beautiful place of  contentment, joy, and peace in just knowing that the Father created me with joy in His heart, and desires that I bask in that knowledge.  I think I’ll just go out and sit in my swing and meditate on these things.


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