Five Things to Break Your Heart

I have been trying to get to the computer for weeks.  Things to say and process.  Sentences that need to be set free from my head.

So this morning, I decided to ignore everything else begging to be done, in order to write.

Only to sit down and discover I have forgotten how.


An unwelcome development to be sure.  (If you're counting, that's one.)

My whole house has been humming The Killers' new album.

In the shower, in the car, in our dreams.  I catch bars of it under their breath as my children hunch over their algebra or empty the dishwasher.  A week ago, David sang me a few lonely stanzas in the dark of our room as we went to sleep.  Yesterday he texted me two lines from a song, and I texted two more right back at him.  It has become the soundtrack of our life.

The thing is, the album is a heartbreaker.  (That's two.)  Flowers and the boys have outdone themselves.  Listen to it with someone you have loved a long time.  It'll break your heart.  Oh, and go ahead and buy the extended edition.  Sure there are a bunch of throwaway dance mixes in there, but there is also a song called "Prize Fighter" that will seriously delight you.  I have a dream of David serenading it to me at my 40th birthday party someday.  It's a good dream.  When Olivia heard the song she said, "Oh yeah, that's what I'm waiting for."  That's my girl.

Ethan and Olivia each turned a year older this week.  Over ice cream cake and lemon pie, we've blown out 23 candles, which seems like a lot.  And breaks my heart just a little.  (Yep, that's three.)  All our prayers this week have included little tributes to these two, and thanks to heaven for sending them to us.  For his gift to Ethan, Caleb wrote a poem that nearly broke my heart.  (Four.)  Everyone should have someone who believes in them so completely:


The greatest

Winner of trophies

Raider of lost arks

The discoverer of

Alien skulls

And the holiest of grails.


My Partner,

My co-pilot,

Flyer of the Millennium Falcon

The furry Wookie

With a courageous spirit

And a roar that scares

Any droid.


The mustached hero

Conquering Goombas, Koopas,

And the great Bowser

Always saving the princess

The great champion who

Enjoys eating mushrooms.


The Hobbit

The Killer of Goblins

The one who stings spiders

Tricks the riddler, Gollum

The small one who won the ring.


The flinger of webs

The shield thrower of America,

The one who conquers

Countless villains and henchmen every day.



Truly the greatest

I will always be your buddy,

Your Brother

And you can always count on me.


You turn 9 years of age and

You are a great son of God.

Great dangers lurk about and

You are our hero and I will always

Be on your side

And Christ will always help us on our way.


Pick up your hat, Indiana Jones

Time to save the princess, Mario

Let’s take the ring to Mordor, go on a quest

Have an adventure

I will always be with you.

Be the greatest of all men, Ethan.

Let’s go have an adventure together.


Love, Caleb

I told you.

Finally, (five), something I still haven't found the words for.  One of our dear friends was killed in an accident nearly two weeks ago.  We have cried and wept.  For our friend.  For the sweet family he had to leave behind.  One of the best women I know is now going through mortality alone.  Her sweetheart has died and left an unimaginable, gaping void.  My thoughts and prayers have returned to her over and over again.  My friend spoke at her husband's funeral.  She was amazing.  She knew him best and we loved him all the more for seeing him through her eyes.  We loved her all the more for her courage and faith.  She spoke about "high water marks of grief."  It broke my heart.  And then she spoke about joys to match those griefs.  And we believed her.  We believed her.  And we believe in her.

The thing is, life seems to get harder and sweeter at the same time.  My children are growing.  They are getting older.  Their lives are filled with papers and exams and string practice.  There is never enough time.  Their worlds are expanding.  Church dances, and orchestra concerts, and college recruiters, and mental lists of what they want in a spouse.  David and I are getting older.  The pressures of work and church and family life are real and persistent.  David said the other day he looked down while he was getting a haircut and all he could see on the cape was grey hair.  If we're lucky we spend one night a week together.  Five minutes here.  Talk to him while he showers.  A quick kiss.  A special ops coordination of people and places and assignments.  Meet you at the end of day.  Sing me your favorite song, in the dark, before the alarm goes off and we do it all again. 

And life is short.  We've learned that the hard way.  We are lucky to spend one night a week together.  And every day, as I rise and fall, I'm not sure if I should feel blessed or beleaguered.

I told David I feel like I'm in a sinking rowboat watching my children perform at the Olympics.  Want to stop and watch and cheer and be amazed.  Got to bail and bail and bail to stay afloat.  Stare in wonder at my lovelies.  Bail and call for help.  Stand up and cheer as the crowd goes wild.  Quick, put something in that hole, we're going down!  I can't decide what to do.  The games will be over before I know it, but I will drown if I stop to soak it all in.  So I do neither well.  I don't enjoy the games.  I'm choking and soaking.  And I'm exhausted.  At least that's what David keeps saying, "You're just tired."  But it's more than that. 

It's mid-life.

And I'm telling you, it'll break your heart.