91: The Tire Swing

91: The Tire Swing

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

The Tire Swing

By Liz Every Cook

It was majestic in beauty, with its spreading boughs, for its roots went down to abundant waters.

~Ezekiel 31:7

Therapy began at an early age for me. It began right there on our farm, hanging from the old mulberry tree. It wasn’t fancy and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. As a matter of fact, it was absolutely free!

What made my therapy so special? Maybe it was the hundred-year-old mulberry tree that provided shade from the hot summer sun, its leaves singing a gentle song as they rustled in the breeze. The birds sang for me from its huge branches, and delicious mulberries provided snacks as well as stains on my clothes. The day my dad threw a rope over one of the biggest branches and attached an old tire was the first day of my childhood therapy.

All a tire swing needs is a child with some imagination. I climbed on top of the tire, pretending it was a horse, threaded my body through the tire on my stomach or sat in the tire as it swung back and forth. The rope holding the tire could be twisted tightly, providing a wild dizzy ride once it was released. But the very best part was simply lazily swinging back and forth, allowing my mind to drift as my body relaxed. The mesmerizing gentle motion back and forth, the whisper of a breeze, and the quiet peacefulness surrounding me were heavenly. I felt safe and happy, as if nothing bad could ever touch me there.

I found it impossible to be unhappy, mad or sad in my tire swing. I might brood a while at first, but as the swing worked its magic, I would begin to sing. My collie, Tippy, liked to position herself so that my body would brush against her as I swung. She patiently sat there with me as I sang, not seeming to mind that my voice wasn’t great. She listened patiently as I spilled out my childhood problems, and between the two of us, we worked everything out. I will always remember those big brown eyes watching me as I talked, as though every word I said was totally fascinating. And she never expected anything but a pat on the head or a hug around her big, furry neck.

Those childhood days are gone, the old mulberry tree is long since dead, and the collie dog is no more. I couldn’t fit my sixty-three-year-old butt into a tire swing if I had to. My problems and frustrations are not the simple ones of childhood, and my neighbors would probably report me for disturbing the peace if I attempted to sing about them. Yet I still experience the calming effects of swinging as the gentle breeze plays over my skin. Now I sit in my porch swing with comfy pillows all around me, reading a book or simply closing my eyes and listening to the sounds of nature or the children playing down the street. I talk to God, and He listens even more intently than my dog… and between the two of us, we work things out!

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