God the Swing Set / by Sarah Schwartz

{The following is a guest post by my sister, Kate Schwartz. She is easily the funniest, most insightful, and courageous soul I know. She possesses intelligence beyond her years, but is unassuming, always taking in the beauty most people miss in the details of everyday life. Follow Kate on twitter @katebirdjohnson)

My last final this term was a take-home essay, and I finished it two hours ago. I thought that when I pressed the “submit” button I would feel joyful and celebratory.  I thought I would want to run screaming outside HALLELUJAH I DID IT! But instead I felt heavy and defeated. I felt relieved to be rid of Winter Term 2014, but I also felt like it had just beat me to a pulp, sucked the life out of me, left me for dead. So I went to the kitchen and grabbed the last apple in the fruit bowl. I took it to my bathroom and ate it, sitting on the side of the bathtub, letting my feet soak in hot water.

I thought: This life is not what I thought it was going to be.

Once I finished my apple and drained the tub I threw on my jean jacket and the knit hat I used to wear when I was in high school. I plugged my headphones in and headed out for a walk through campus. I wanted to get another look at the place, this time without any homework assignments lingering in the back of my mind. It’s the cold kind of sunny today—when you feel like wearing a t-shirt one minute and pulling on your winter coat the next—sort of symbolic of the bitter-sweetness of the college experience.

I meandered down the main street of campus, my step in time with the acoustic goodness playing in my ears. I didn’t recognize anyone I passed except my lit teacher from last year.

Cutting through the dormitories, I made my way to the little park tucked up next to a field blocked by threatening NO TRESPASSING signs. No one was around. I took off my jacket and hung it on one of the swings. I sat on the one next to it and started to pump my legs.

It smelled like laundry and the ocean and dirt and freedom and hope and life.

I swung higher and higher until the wind blew a smile across my face and relaxed my furrowed brow. I began to sing along with the music in my ears. It was like God was the swing set and I could just relax. It was like I was nine years old at recess. It was like I was thirteen and using the elementary school playground on the weekend, eating ice cream that I bought with my own money and I didn’t need a babysitter. It was like I was nineteen and in a foreign country with no fears, only laughter.

I started to laugh all by myself. I was laughing and singing, and the pressure of The Rest Of My Life was nowhere. It was just me and God the Swing Set.

God the Father, God the Son, God the Swing Set.

I felt okay. I felt light.

I was flying.

I swung until I got cold and my knuckles started to crack in the dry places.

It smelled like laundry and the ocean and dirt and freedom and hope and life.

I was light. I was flying.