The Swinging Pendulum

When the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth, and how every desire that their heart conceived was always nothing but evil, the Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and his heart was grieved.      Genesis 6:5-6

3.29.18 with word overlayMason suffered a deep disappointment last week, so deep he went to a dark and angry place because of it. We all just backed off and gave him his space to work through it.

After he did, he pulled up a chair at the middle island and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I get so upset.”

“I do,” I said, and pulled out a piece of paper and a marker to explain.

I drew a horizontal line across the whole page, with one vertical line bisecting it in the middle. Then I explained, “This horizontal line is the whole gamut of emotions. This vertical line is the center of the spectrum. All positive emotions are to the right of it, all negative to the left.

“We all jump off from the vertical line and swing either right or left, tethered to the center post with a rope. We have no choice about the swinging; life is in charge of that. But we do get to decide how long our rope is. As far as we swing into the positive emotions is as far as we swing into the negative emotions.

“You, Mason, live life to the fullest; so your rope is long. When you’re happy, you’re not just happy: You’re elated. So when your rope swings the other way, you don’t get disappointed: You get devastated. The only way to avoid devastation is to pull your rope shorter. But then you’ll only reach happy on the other side. You’ll be robbing yourself of elation.

“So you have two decisions to make: How long do you want your rope? And how fast do you swing back when things don’t go your way?”

I believe God faced the same decisions back in the days of Noah. The people he’d created using all the love in his heart were wicked and evil. When he realized they were rejecting him, His elation over creating them swung to devastation. In his grief, he chose to destroy them.

After the flood, he vowed never to do so again. He chose to keep his rope long and still love people deeply; but he also chose to quickly swing back to forgiveness when our bad actions pierce his heart through.

That’s what Mason, and all of the rest of us, need to aspire to. We were created to live on the extreme side of love, and feel everything deeply. When people’s actions plunge us into hurt and devastation, w’ere supposed to quickly swing back to forgiveness too.

To remind us of this, God sent his only begotten Son. Jesus spent his days on earth loving deeply, and inspiring others to do the same. Yet when the pendulum swung the other way, and rejection nailed him to a tree, he chose to swing quickly back to forgiveness, and forgave us all.

Here’s wishing you all complete elation this Easter!

Questions for Reflection:

     * How long do I want my emotional rope to be?

     * How quickly do I swing to forgiveness when others hurt me?

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2 thoughts on “The Swinging Pendulum

  1. Wow Claire! This was an amazing lesson to teach. I am so much like Mason and experienced a negative swing yesterday that left me baffled as to why it was so extreme. I soon realized that the incident was just the tipping point of a whole bunch that has happened lately but now I believe that it is also because my rope is so very long. Thank you!!


    • So sorry you had a negative swing, Jess. But I’m glad that this post could help explain why. Please don’t ever pull your rope shorter. You deep love and investment in all you do brings so much joy to the world. Here’s hoping you can swing back into the positive quickly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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