Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

It’s been years since I last saw a see-saw on a playground. Somewhere five or ten years back, someone must have decided that playgrounds were too dangerous, because they tore out all the old playground equipment and put in new.

The big wooden structures that allowed kids to climb to parent-terrifying heights are gone. The metal slides that burned kids’ thighs as they flew down in their shorts are gone. And the seesaws, with their child-powered action, are also gone.

I understand the reasons for removing them. Anyone who keeps these items opens themselves up for lawsuits in our highly litigious culture. Yet I mourn the loss of these symbols of my childhood. In a safety-obsessed world, children don’t get a chance to experience the same “safe” risks I took as a child–or their amazing rewards.

The thrill of standing at the top of the world, looking down on the climbers below. The delight of zipping down a slide so fast that you couldn’t stop and therefore were flung off a drop into the gravel below.

And the see-saws.

Going up and down, up and down. Having someone bigger than you sit on the opposite end, flinging you into the air. Begging them to let you down. Eventually climbing down, hoping that they wouldn’t get off while you were still climbing, which would inevitable make you crash to the ground. Adjusting where you sat so that your weight and the person’s opposite you would be perfectly balanced. Going up and down, up and down.

I enjoyed the up and down of the see-saw.

I don’t enjoy it now.

Then it was merely my body, up in the air and back to ground again.

Now I’m on a cosmic see-saw and instead of my body, it’s my heart flying up and down, up and down.

One moment I’m soaring, gloriously aware of the goodness of God. The next moment I land with a thunk, heartsick and hopeless.

One moment I feel I can tackle anything. The next moment I’m grounded and even the smallest activity seems overwhelming.

One moment I’m trusting, safe, high above the fray. The next moment I’m anxious, vulnerable, feeling battered and bruised.

Up and down. Up and down.

My life consists of up and down.

The see-saw was fun, once upon a time–but now I just want to get off.

Please, Lord? Please? I want to get off.

Reader Comments (1):

  1. Davene says:

    Beautifully written.

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