This may look like a regular porch swing, but in the few weeks we've had it I realize it has become so much more. It's a place that beckons me to lean back. The seat slants so there's a natural tilt that encourages me to lean back rather than remain fully upright.
Leaning back allows my gaze to turn upward, watching the tree leaves rustle in the occasional whisk of a late summer's breeze. My upturned ear catches the gentle tinkle of Mom's wind chime. As I sway slowly in this swing, I realize I'm tuning in to sounds of nature and connecting to the rhythms of the neighborhood. Sometimes it's an energetic pulse with many walkers and joggers; sometimes it's a peaceful lull with only the birds' chirping to reign over the moment.
I find myself lingering here to talk on the phone with loved ones, engaging just a little bit longer than I would if I were chatting while wandering my house, straightening along the way.
This swing represents my husband's love language as his "act of service" to help me assemble it and install it. It fulfills our mutual love language of "quality time" as we trickle out to enjoy the space together in the prolonged summer evenings.
I've enjoyed this space as a transition between activities, lounging after a walk or winding down from a busy day of errands. I can lean back and let the weight of the day fall away here.
I realized recently that this little nook has also become a refuge to step into when grief bubbles up unexpectedly. When I'm cooking dinner and am suddenly reminded of something Mom said/did that swells up in an emotional tide within me, I can set the oven timer and slip out here to take a few minutes for the agitated surf of mourning to subside. As I nestle into comfy pillows and pray, I feel the serenity of the Lord supporting me as I lean back into His comfort and peace.
I've carried disappointments, regrets, and frustrations out to this space. As I attempt to still my body in this place of sanctuary, I'm allowing my soul to lean back into the foundations of my faith and ground myself in God's truths rather than remain in the stressful pull of human interactions. It's not easy and it's not quick, but recognizing this as a place to practice letting go is an important perspective shift.
With the sudden swirl of activity to get ready for the back-to-school season, it feels like we're tipping forward into preparation for future experiences rather than leaning back into our present engagements.
As I've been jotting down school and athletic events onto our family whiteboard, I see the daily squares filling up and members of the family springing off in a lot of different directions.
Anticipation of a new school year looms large, especially if you have multiple kids to settle into new routines or if this is a "milestone" year for one or more of your children.
I'm guessing I'm not alone in this perpetual balancing act between tipping forward into the next activity and leaning back to enjoy the moment in front of me.
Are you feeling it, too?
I grabbed a magazine to come out to my comfy haven this morning, giving in to an overcast sky and impending rain shower. The title "Rest & Recharge" bounced off the cover at me and an article about how to "feel more everyday joy" caught my eye. Yep, I am not the only one feeling the pull of all the tomorrows yet longing to find the slowness in today.
As I settled onto my swing and leaned back, my gaze shifted lower onto the magazine cover and there it was: a photo of a porch swing!
It was a sweet little God-wink, an acknowledgment that I'm not alone in this need for soul sanctuary. It's okay to lean back...wherever you are, my friend. Find your nook and allow yourself to linger.