At work the other day, a cute 6-year-old blonde asks me to push her on the swing.
She climbs in a baby swing, the kind that fits like a diaper, and leans her head back to grin at me as I begin to pull her up. The sun dips its fingers through the trees above us as she ascends, brushing her face and brightening her eyes. The branches hang low and the air tickles their leaves, and they giggle along with her as I keep pulling her back, slowly, slowly, to the very peak, and release her, sending her sailing towards the sky. And I have never seen so much joy.
Over and over, she boomerangs back towards me, and over and over, I send her back to the clouds, like I’m playing pass with God. Her almost-white hair mixes with the bright sun, and she screams, “Higher! Higher!” as I throw her back into the atmosphere, through the trees.
“Grab a leaf!” I challenge her. “Grab a cloud!”
And there is this moment when everything slows down, her joy quiets the playground, the trees, the sun, the sky, and I pull her back towards me, ready to launch her upwards. When I throw her forward, and the swing bends her towards the branches above her like she’s a pebble in a sling shot, she holds out one hand, tiny fingers outstretched to grab the sun’s wrist and pull it down toward her. She reaches upward, pushing through this invisible line that separates the ground from the sky, ready to tear away the horizon and show something she sees beyond it. Her fingers just brush it at the peak of her height, and the top of her head dips through the horizon; she can almost see over it, this line that holds change at bay, can almost find some sort of magic that cherishes youth and imagination, but God pushes her back to me and the only thing I can do is catch her when falls to the ground again.
And so we begin again, God and me, pushing and shoving, ebbing and flowing, stopping and going. But He never lets me get her over that horizon.