Growing up in the Midwest, winters were bitterly cold and snow was the norm. I loved being outside, ice skating, sledding, snowball fights.
Shoveling snow? Not so much.
In the evenings, when darkness fell quickly, my twin sister and I would play in our basement. Dad had rigged a swing down there–we had the space to reach great heights.
One night we made a bet with each other. Neither of us remembers whose idea it was–it wasn’t a good one. We were going to see how high we could swing with our hands holding at the base of the wooden board we sat on.
Maybe we were bored. Possibly we were six-year-old adrenaline junkies. Whatever the case, I got on the swing and began pumping for all I was worth.
Over a cement floor.
I know I got pretty high, but I clearly remember getting to the top of the arc going forward and didn’t swing back. I fell backward. Hitting the back of my head on the hard floor.
There was blood. Lots of blood. Head injuries are notorious for producing quantities of the red stuff. I remember being dazed–it was probably shock. Dad drove me to the emergency room.
It’s amazing how clear some memories are and how dull others can become. This one stands out boldly. The doctor told me the stitches were going to hurt.
Which they did.
Lesson learned–if I’m going to swing high over concrete, hold higher.
Life for me is a series of soaring loftily one way, trying to balance it out and moving too far the other way. The pendulum of life that defines things in hyperbole rather than acceptable norms. Extremes as opposed to moderation.
A case in point. I was invited to a gathering that appeared casual, so I showed up in nice jeans, a top, and soccer flops.
Everyone else was in a dress with heels.
We had a party for a large group of people at our home. I baked twelve pans of assorted brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and Rice Krispy treats for the occasion.
Half of them were untouched.
My life of faith can look like this pendulum swing. I can act like it all depends on me, where every rule must be followed, every meeting attended, signing up for every possible volunteer opportunity. I act like my doing, my producing, makes me more acceptable to God. As if He owes me.
There are the days I ignore Him completely. I do my thing my way. I justify my behavior to myself in a way that makes it workable. Then guilt and shame creep up and make me miserable.
God doesn’t need for me to do for Him–He’s done it all for me. Paid the price fully for all my contrariness and wandering ways.
He’s not fire insurance either. Not a prayer to be said to gain access to heaven. He’s a Father who wants to interact with His children. Show them how much He loves them.
The balance? Being loved perfectly and learning to love Him more.
Where is your pendulum taking you?