Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers rocked in old wooden rocking chairs, and I clearly remember swinging back and forth on the old metal glider behind Mama Cole’s house. She had placed the glider near the back of the house where the afternoon shade gave us some relief from the hot Georgia sun and where we could observe her beautiful garden growing. It was there that I learned the basic facts of life and that she loved me with an unconditional and undying love.
One thing I remember vividly about Mama Cole is that she never hesitated to answer any question my busy little mind could come up with at the time. And I thought that she thought it was important to have detailed conversations with me just as long as I wanted to talk. We moved gently back and forth as we carried on these in-depth discussions that I still remember to this day. How my heart longs to have just 15 minutes more of those nearly perfect times in my life. And I’d love to be able to eat something gathered from that beautiful garden right there on the glider as we talked.
So, I suppose it is fair to say I inherited my love of movement and that I have had a nice, big swing in each of the homes I have had as an adult. Ted built me a wonderful, big swing that he hung carefully on the back deck of the beach house. He made the swing as a birthday gift for me one year and called me while I was still working in the office to show it to me in a phone photo he had taken. Only one thing was wrong, and I noticed it right away. He was lying down, full-length in the swing overlooking the Gulf, and he is 6-foot-2, so I knew right away that the swing was not to be just mine alone. Ike got that swing, but this past year, he spent hours in the workshop and built me another one on my new porch. It is also big enough for him to lie down and rest comfortably.
We sit out there in the swing many early evenings and discuss our day and the days to come. The grandkids all love their turn on the swing and often snuggle up between the two of us or with whichever is there for the time. We have the long, deep conversations I remember from my youth.
I also have rockers all throughout my house. I have a small green one, kind of plush and soft, in the office and when I am tired of typing, I take a break in my very own chair. I told the salesman when I bought it that I wanted it for a short person. He laughed and asked what that might mean. “I don’t want my legs to stick straight out when I sit down,” I explained. “Since I am barely 5 feet tall, I want a short chair.” He found the perfect one and I enjoy it greatly. In the living room, I have a nice new rocker that Ted says “floats in the air.” Neither of us really knows exactly how the chair is made, but it does seem to float both backward and forward as in rocking, but also from left to right and at angles. I fear it will break one day, and I will be very sad. I am also very cautious as to who I let sit in that chair.
My bedroom holds the special treasure. In that room of our house, I have the one and only thing left of my Mama Cole’s. I have her treasured old, small, platform rocker. My mother had it recovered in soft brown leather and it was in Georgia when Hurricane Ike took everything else I had of hers. After mother died, I brought that one item home with me to keep. I said that it is all I had left of my grandmother who reared me, but that is not entirely true, and I realized it recently.
I still have the many lessons she taught while we rocked or swung gently, I have the insights she shared, and hopefully, some of her abundant love and wisdom. I have the wonderful memories, and no storm can take those from me.
Jesus felt that rest and relaxation were important for Him told His disciples; in Mark 6:31, he said, “Come ye apart and rest for a while.” We should each determine a place we enjoy being, where we can come apart and rest from the busy day’s activities. We all need a quiet place where we can find serenity and peace. For me, it is in one of my rockers or my swing, if I am not on the beach or some body of water.
Recently, I found an interesting article titled, “Rockers are happier and have less stress.” I read every word of the article — twice. The author had done extensive surveys, compiled data, and was convinced that people who rocked for some minutes every day were happier and filled with less stress and anxiety. Basically, they rocked it out of their lives.
My Mama Cole knew that many years ago, and I have been practicing it every day of my life both subconsciously and consciously, so for all of you who have ever told me to be still, forget it. I plan to be a hard rocker until I die. Now turn that music up and let me be.