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Playing with Dirt

When I bought my house, I fell in love not only with the house but also with the playground next door. It wasn’t much of a park, but I pictured it a great place for my future family to play and make memories. Once I moved in, I enjoyed hearing children playing, giggling, and laughing hysterically outside my office window.


Then, the city came and uprooted all the playground equipment. Both sets of swings–gone. The empty park crushed my spirit. Seeing the kiddos sit on the dirt piles after school grieved me even more. But most of all, I missed the giggles, the laughter, the sweet sounds of childlike innocence.



Weeks and months passed, and the children visited the dirt pile often. Eventually, they learned they could play with sticks, leaves, and well… dirt. It might not have been the old playground, but it was what they had; this was now their playground.


Several weeks ago, a semi-truck pulled up outside my house early in the morning. I watched as groups of men lifted heavy objects out of the truck and carefully placed them around the dirt piles in the playground. One trip, two trips, three trips… I lost count. In the end, large objects filled the old playground. I couldn’t tell what these items were, but something told me a new playground would be taking shape.


Days passed and little by little, a new playground appeared. The workers raised the playground up from its earlier incarnation and covered it with fresh mulch. Jungle gyms. Slides. Treehouses. And yes, swings. Even park benches and tables.


Before long, children reappeared.

  • The laughs!
  • The screaming and yelling!
  • All music to my ears.


Dear one, life is a lot like that playground. We play and we laugh. Then something–or someone–comes our way and tears down all we know and love—the things that make us laugh hysterically and shriek with delight.

  • Divorce.
  • Illness.
  • Death.
  • Broken relationships.
  • Abuse.
  • Job loss.
  • Addictions.


We’re left with dirt–piles of it.


We visit the site of our happy memories often, hoping that somehow they’ll magically reappear, and life will be joyous again. We long to laugh again.


Eventually, we move on. We learn new ways to live and play. We learn how to make the most of our dirt. It’s not the life we know, but it’s the life we have.


It seems that when we move on and learn to work with our dirt, God pulls up in His divine semi-truck and starts positioning bits and pieces of a new playground in our lives. It might be a short season of rebuilding—or what seems like an eternity. But before we know it, we have a new playground—a better playground than what we once enjoyed.


 Dear one, God wants to restore what was taken from you (Joel 2:25). Your suffering won’t last forever. Our generous God has great plans for you—and what great and glorious plans they are! As you live out the life you have, He will put you back together and on your feet for good (1 Peter 5:10). He will make beauty from your ashes (Isaiah 61:3). God will let you laugh again (Job 8:21).


Come alongside… What has taken away your laughter? How can you move forward with the life you now have? How can you share hope with someone who is hurting?

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Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.