In the busyness of daily life, I forget kids have a deeper inner life than I realize. They’re making sense of life, processing experiences, wondering, questioning, associating, etc. Their whole beings buzz with energy and feelings.
These days we spend a large amount of time at home and much of it is occupied with video games. This month particularly I’m letting the kids freely play video games (within moderation) and I’ve joined in the fun. Arguing over play time saps my energy and puts everyone in a snappy mood. So this month, I let go. Give myself a break from the fussy fights. But it’s not so bad; we talk about life, the old days, things they like and dislike, and using song lyrics as stepping stones for further conversations.
Music choice depends on the day, but usually we play some music from Klove (a Christian radio station). In the middle of a song called “When We Fall Apart” by Ryan Stevenson, Ellis put her tablet aside, jumps off the couch, and motions me with her hand that she’s about to whisper something.
“When We Fall Apart” Lyrics You were 43 when you got the news Life will be changing, nothing we can do The clock is ticking now All I can think about Is knowing I have to move on without you somehow And I just can’t believe That you’re the one whose keeping it together As you hold my hand and say It’s ok to cry It’s ok to fall apart You don’t have to try To be strong when you are not And it may take sometime to make sense of all your thoughts But don’t ever fight your tears ‘Cause there is freedom in every drop Sometimes the only way to heal a broken heart is when we fall apart You ask me to sing Some songs that I wrote And I can barely speak Can barely play a note All my tears rush in Falling on my strings And make the sound of these progressions have a different ring And I hate to say goodbye Knowing this will be the last time we’re together As you close your eyes and say It’s ok to cry It’s ok to fall apart You don’t have to try To be strong when you are not And it may take sometime to make sense of all your thoughts But don’t ever fight your tears ‘Cause there is freedom in every drop Sometimes the only way to heal a broken heart is when we fall apart And you’ve got the gift of mercy Don’t ever think it’s strange Not a curse, but it is a blessing to feel other people’s pain And always love without condition And trust with all your heart There’s healing in the story of your scars Well, it’s been awhile Since you’ve been gone Sometimes I still catch myself trying to call your phone All the hopes and dreams we used to talk about They’re still alive in me and I just hope I make you proud Now I’m your legacy And it’s your love still holding me together And I still hear you say It’s ok to cry It’s ok to fall apart You don’t have to try To be strong when you are not And it may take sometime to make sense of all your thoughts But don’t ever fight your tears ‘Cause there is freedom in every drop Sometimes the only way to heal a broken heart is when we fall apart
“I have something to tell you,” Ellis says.
“What is it?” I replied dropping my head sideways so her mouth could reach my ear. I wasn’t too enthused. Usually it’s a tale of minute details conveying how she was falsely accused or misunderstood by her older brother. Her voice is tiny in general, so when she whispers I can’t make out her words. Unbeknownst to me I reply, “what?” And she gets annoyed that I said “what?” too loudly and now Elliot is curious what she whispered to me. 🤷♀️ He wants to make sure he is clear of any wrongdoing. (This description was a digression but it gives you an idea of what these whisper encounters entail.)
“This song got me kind of emotional. Because it says it’s ok to fall apart and cry. I just cried a little bit,” she tells me.
Before I could say anything, she went back to the couch resuming her tablet game.
This passing comment reminds me that my 8 year old has more insight, empathy, and maturity than I give her credit. Later that evening we looked up the song lyrics and story behind it.
The song is a conversation between the singer and his mom at her deathbed when she was 43 years old. He recounts the sorrow of saying goodbye to her for the last time and getting encouraged by his mom that it’s okay to feel lost when you are sad and to not hold back his tears: it’s going through those heartaches that lead to freedom. She affirms his gift for mercy telling him that it’s his special gift. (This was an incredibly special part of the song when his mom conveys the potential she sees in him and wants him to develop in his life. I wonder about the weight of her sadness in that moment and despite her sorrow, she pours love into him.)
We contemplated the lyrics’ meanings trying to imagine what the singer was feeling through it all. It was a short talk between us but my mind kept replaying the feelings in my head. Experiencing sickness in a family sears fear into the hearts of loved ones and this reality inevitably makes you mature beyond your years. I can’t clearly explain the meaning in those unspoken glances and words among us; I don’t think we have an inkling of what they mean but that it’s a shared fear. Songs like this bring me nearer to my latent fears and I’m so thankful for artists like Ryan Stevenson for giving people like me the chance to feel our deep unspoken fears through another’s experiences. (This last sentence may not make much sense…I’ve rewritten it many times but what I want to convey is mixed with fear and guilt of putting my heart out there too much.)
Fast forward 2 months to August, and this song plays on the radio again. This time Elliot is intrigued by the song and asks Ellis why she likes this song. She says, “Mommy, you tell him.”
We watched the music video and read more about the backdrop of this song.
I didn’t know how much Elliot took in because video games were being played at the same time. But before bed that night, his eyes got red and shared a bit of his heart with me. It was related to the song and the fear of loss. I wish I had an easy and compact way of understanding that loss is a part of life that almost everyone alive fears. My mind was desperately searching for answers and sending emergency prayers for God’s wisdom.
The best thing I could do was pray. I prayed with all honesty how we feel, the fears, and thanking God for Elliot’s tender heart and that God brings him peace that passes understanding. It was a special moment where I could glance into the deeper parts of his mind and heart. He wiped his tears and smiled. I couldn’t believe we shared this together and brought us closer as mother and son. This was a God created moment.
Playing around with filters…one of our favorite past times
Welcome to my blog! My name is Esther and I'm so happy you are here. I'm an avid nature photographer and a daydreaming thinker. My posts revolve around photos of nature's beauty, homeschooling adventures with my 2 kids, sporadic reflections on my child's heart condition, Bible reading reflections, gardening feats, and other mish mash things. Hopefully you'll leave encouraged, pensive, or smiling at the simple things of life. Thank you for stopping by and hope you'll find some interesting posts to read!