Thad and the kids gave me a porch swing for Mother’s Day and we hung it last week. As of this morning, we have logged a total of 36 hours of swinging- Greenley logging the most. We swing in the sunshine, in the rain, and in the dark. It is becoming our favorite place to hangout.
It is also becoming our neighbors’ favorite place to hangout.
While the kids are outside playing, I usually run in the house, do a few chores, and check on them every few minutes. Last Sunday, I was in the kitchen baking cupcakes and I went to the window to do a quick headcount. I counted 7 heads and realized that our next door neighbor must be on the swing with my kids. I walked to the kitchen, grabbed 7 cupcakes, and headed to the porch to surprise them with a snack. I opened the door and turned to face a swing full of kids that I had never seen before. I know what my kids look like, but counting heads on a moving swing must be harder than I had originally thought. I brought out more cupcakes and sat down on the steps to do what mamas do: I asked a bunch of questions. What are your names? Where do you live? Do your parents know where you are? I got a few vague answers so I let them continue swinging and I went back inside and cleaned up the kitchen.
While washing the dishes, I replayed the porch scene in my mind. The kids did not have on appropriate sized clothing. They had holes in their pants. But more than anything, I thought about their faces. They looked sad. Like the kind of sad that a porch swing and a freshly baked cupcake can’t fix. I finished up in the kitchen and decided to do a little more investigating on the porch.
An hour of swinging made way for more honest answers from one of the girls. I learned that there are 6 kids in the home and that their mom works at a local grocery store to make ends meet. Dad is no where to be found and their house is in need of repair. The kids are left alone with an older step sister all weekend while their mom works and this sister lets the younger kids roam the neighborhood. I’d be sad, too, if this were my reality.
After a couple of hours, the kids walked back home with a little bag of hope for their mom.
This weekend, our porch swing was more than just a pretty addition to our front porch. The Lord had used it as a place of refuge from a place of hurting. Hopefully, it will be used again.