Mar 26, 2012
From The Swings
This weekend was one of beautiful sunshine and light winds, which is rare this time of year. The warm weather is nothing unusual, but more than one day at a time without wind and dust blowing around is certainly a rarity. Last night, not wanting to miss a chance to enjoy the sunshine and lack of wind, we headed out to a nearby park.
Of all the items to be found at a park, my child finds the swings to be the most enjoyable. Who can blame her? I still love the gentle rhythm of the swings, to feel as if I am flying, to have the breeze whip my hair all around me. It is soothing there on the swings so when we she requested we head over that way, we happily obliged.
As we ventured over, we noticed a beautiful teenage girl on the swing next to us. Her auburn hair flowed around her like a halo framing her porcelain skin. Her thin frame fit easily in the swing, and with her chin lifted with a dreamy look in her eyes, she found her rhythm there on the swing. She went higher, rarely looking around.
In an effort to keep from facing the sun, we chose to face the opposite way as the china doll beauty beside us. As her swing effortlessly floated backwards I noticed, the etched red lines on both of her thighs. Perfectly symmetrical, evenly spaced, reddened lines against her delicate skin.
I looked around at the benches that dotted the park, no, those could not have left the perfectly lined pattern. The ground would not have either, nor would a cat or dog have left the thin lines. As I watched her face, as if entranced by her own dream, I realized, this young girl cuts herself. The lines are too perfect, the spacing to exact to have not been accomplished by human hands, and a small sharp object.
My eyes glanced at my own little girl, curls flying as her daddy gently pushed her, and then back to the girl I looked. Does she not know how beautiful she is? Does she not know that in spite of what this world says, God has already said she is worthwhile, that she is important, that she is valuable? If those etched red lines are of her own doing, do her parents know? Do they care? Do they tell her she is loved and adored and that her smile alone can make a difference? Do they wrap their arms around her and give her "too many kisses" as we do to our little girl? Do they look her in the eyes and tell her they are glad she is their daughter? When they pray do they thank God for her and ask him to protect her? And I wanted to grab her, to interrupt the gentle rhythm of her swing and wrap her in my arms and tell her those things and so much more.
I prayed for the others there to slowly drift, for the few words I had spoken to her to begin to spark a conversation. But, more people arrived and no conversation began. And my heart sunk low as my child reached up for my hand when we turned to go, and the girl with the angelic face and auburn hair remained, moving back and forth, and all alone.
As we began our time of family prayers, I asked my daughter if she would pray for the girl on the swings. My child, full of innocence and joy, looked at me and said, "Yes because Mom, I think she was sad." I do not know what my child saw to illicit that response, being too young to know that sometimes people hurt themselves and seemingly too carefree on the swings just an hour before. But she noticed, and my heart swelled as I realized my child notices other people and yet sank because the girl on the swings feels noticed by no one. We prayed for her, and her face filled my sleepless night, and has remained in my thoughts today.
So, to the beautiful young girl with the auburn hair that swam around your porcelain face as you swang back and forth: you are beautiful. You are worthy. You are valuable. You are necessary. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. This world is better for having you in it. God is calling you, claiming you as His own. This world is filled with your lies, so be sure to fill your mind with truth, God's perfect truth. And thank you for allowing my child to swing next to you yesterday, for not scowling when she began singing, as she often does. May you know your worth, may God be more real to you, and may his love be more powerful and may you feel it more strongly than you do the object your swept across your thighs.