Every morning I dressed for the playground. Bermuda shorts under my required skirt. The joy set before me got me through history. Recess! Our school playground was the Kings Island of my day. I had never been to Chicago’s River View, but it didn’t matter. Avalon Park was the bomb. They even flooded the field in the winter so we could go iceskating. It was my entertainment. And I got to go there every day of the week.
During nice weather, we’d be out the school door before the bell stopped ringing, anxious to be the first to hit the Maypole. Pity these aren’t around any more. The Maypole was a metal structure consisting of ropes with bars attached to a large pole. Six of us grabbed a rung and ran around a circle like crazy people as we attempted to soar in the air. It was one of my favorites. You had to get a good grip or you’d go flying off into the gravel. We would run in circles to get it going, and then hang on for dear life as we went airborne. Giggles and gasps for air brought thrills of a lifetime. Once we landed, the process was repeated until we were out of breath, or the boys were groveling for their turn.
This early century equipment was similar to Avalon Park’s in the 50’s and 60’s
Then there was the Teeter Ladder suspended midair, a horizontal ladder balanced in the middle but high enough for children to walk under. My friend and I took hold of each end making the ladder go up and down like a seesaw. If you were down, you had to make sure you got a good grip so you didn’t injure the other child. If you were up, you had to take a new grip so you didn’t get catapulted across the street. If you didn’t attend to the grip, it could become downright dangerous. But the thrill of the swing made it all worthwhile. You had to hang on to survive. In fact, both of these contraptions required a strong grip. We would head back to the classroom with knees shaking and hands blistered red, stinging from the adventure. Pretty risky for this cautious little girl who didn’t like to get dirty. But I was ten.
I’ve discovered that my playground experiences are much like real life. There are times I just have to hold on for the ride. Circumstances can send me reeling and I’m left shaken and weakened from the blow. Unexpected interruptions to life as I think it should be knock the wind out of me. I don’t like it when my ducks aren’t in a row. Everything neat and tidy. Cautious and safe is what I like. Then it hits…and I’m not on the playground any more for a Maypole ride. I’m facing a life interruption. And I have to get a good grip! Or a new grip…
Where do I go when things don’t work out like I’d hoped? How do I cope with financial loss? Or health issues? Or aging parents? Where do I find strength to help others in their need? What am I gripping? To a paycheck? To a 403b? To a person? To a position? The Bible addresses theses issues in Hebrews 12:12. It’s the grip thing again.
SO TAKE A NEW GRIP WITH YOUR TIRED HANDS
AND STRENGTHEN YOUR WEAK KNEES
A new grip? Either I let go of my grip on fleshly things or I get a new grip on the eternal. My tired hands reach once more for something stable. Something concrete. Something that won’t let me go. God’s Word. Not mere trifles on the page. My life! I can’t live without it. So I go back to what I know. Truth. It’s my foundation. In fact, God’s Word is described as a peg driven into a firm place. That’s where I can stake my life. Because I am sure it will hold.
So get yourself a new grip by loosening your old one on things or people who let you down…grasp and hold to that which will never fail. His name is Jesus. He promises to strengthen your weak knees when your tired hands take a new grip.