“A figure eight on a bight,” David casually explained.
“A what?!” I cross-examined.
bight – /bīt/ noun – a loop of rope, as distinct from the rope’s ends
This was the gift of our son, David, toward what would become the seat of fun for his niece and nephew . . . two ready swings hanging from an oak tree in the yard. Our newest family members – Chelsea and Grant – now three and one, would surely enjoy such fun. From this fresh idea for a family that could use something to lift them.
One year has passed since their parents divorced, with this being their home away from home when they are with their dad, our oldest son, Landon. Moreover, it has been three years since my husband, Robert, lost his leg in a hunting accident and joined the ranks of other BK (below knee) amputees. These little things like swing raising bring joy and make a difference.
As a rock climber, David knows the importance of knots and ropes and the science behind how they support not only fun and sport, but most importantly the lives of the ones they sustain. When I asked him how he tied the rope, his response led me to the dictionary following his careful explanation demonstrated with the physical gesturing of a figure eight tie around a simple bight.
It was not as complicated as it sounds but surprisingly effective and sturdy for the part of rope that secures the swing to the tree. Mesmerized by the process, it occurred to me that what each of them gave mystically mirrored who they are – climber and fisherman – even to the very type of knot and its placement.
In fact, David’s figure eight with a bight was something likened to him – methodical and purposeful, yet adaptable. This was David’s contribution.
My husband, Robert, on the other hand, applied the crafting of the fisherman’s knot – fixed, strong, and unbreakable like him. This was Robert’s contribution.
As I watched these two raise these swings like suns rising to burst the darkness, my heart smiled. I saw the blossoming of our son, David, providing for our grandchildren something he had used to scale the mighty two-thousand-plus-foot mountain, El Toro, in El Potrero Chico, Mexico; to something that would safely hold family a foot or two off of the ground.
With every part of this swing-raising event, gleaming rays of the character and personality of each continued to shine. Robert stood sturdily and gracefully at the base while welcoming his son to ascend the ladder. Assisting David to the higher part at branch-level where his own footing would have been less secure, he humbly supported it below, yielding way to his assistant. Later scaling it himself for a final shake to test the system of purposeful knots and loops applied, Robert was still providing.
My guys were not just hanging a swing that night, but like children themselves – God’s children – they were securing love for their family by the greatest means of all – their actions. What began with a bight, a loop of love, transcended our little yard that day. Like the figure eight, our family dynamics continue to gain strength from such expressions where using God-given talents supports everyone.
“Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.” – I John 3:18