There are about a zillion things I needed to write about last week. If nothing else to mark them down in my own little on-line journal here so I’ll remember.
But because last week got off to such a surreal start, I haven’t known how or what or when to write.
Monday, two things happened.
My amazing miracle triplets turned eight. Eight. Bray and I have now been parenting for more than half of the time we’ve known each other (we met 14 years ago).
Then news emerged of one of the worst mass shootings in America’s history.
Because I worked from home Monday so I could celebrate the kids birthday at home and at school, I didn’t hear the news like I typically would when getting ready for work and commuting to and from the office.
I gathered snippets, but I felt a little like I was underwater, with time suspended.
And it kept me from writing for days.
But also on Monday evening, I started having friends and colleagues text me and message me: I just heard the news about Tom Petty. I’m so sorry. I know how much you loved him.
I’ve lived through a lot of musicians of my growing up years dying.
But never have people texted me condolences over their deaths.
These aren’t even the people that know me the best. These are people I’ve worked with over the years or have gone to school with me.
I had no idea what they were talking about.
Turns out there was this back and forth all Monday afternoon about whether or not Tom Petty has passed away and, ultimately, the news confirmed he died at 66 years old.
I have only once felt personally impacted by a celebrity’s death. Someone to whom I had no connection. In 1997, at the beginning of my third year of law school, Princess Diana passed away. I remember mourning her death. I’d grown up with her and the death shocked me and all my girlfriends. We held a wake in a friend’s apartment, wore black, and watched the funeral.
Tom Petty’s death may not have hit me like Princess Diana’s, but I did feel great sadness on hearing the news.
Tom Petty played the soundtrack of my entire adult life. I fell in love with his music in college. My senior year, I rebelled and stayed out drinking and listening to Tom Petty with these cool people. I was not cool. But Tom Petty, and the people who listened to him, was.
His album, Wildflowers, came out that year. Fall of 1994 – my senior year:
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worry
You belong somewhere you feel free
Free Fallin’ is my ring tone. Everyone in my office knows it because inevitably once a month I forget to silence my phone in an open concept office.
I Won’t Back Down motivated me through any number of work outs.
I watched She’s the One any number of times because Tom Petty wrote the soundtrack: You got a heart so big, it could crush this town…
I saw him live four times, including this April for Bray and my 11th wedding anniversary.
The first time, I heard him in law school in Nashville and figured live music didn’t get any better. I sang Breakdown at the top of my lungs at both concerts but only twisted my knee at this last one (because I can’t dance like I used to).
I am grateful musicians live on forever with their songs blaring on our headphones but I’m terribly sad the man is gone.
In another strange twist in my life, my church elected me to serve as an elder last Sunday. I have long eschewed church leadership. Partly because of my family’s long history of church leadership and the less than appealing twists and turns I saw it take. Partly because I never felt God asking me to serve in that space. So I did what I could outside the church.
I mean heck, who thinks the girl who rebelled in college and has Tom Petty as her life soundtrack is a likely candidate for ELDER? When I was asked, I didn’t say yes. I talked about it with a lot of folks, including my husband, who said, “um, I thought elders were ‘elder’…”
So there’s a lot of wrestling with God that went into that decision and I’ll write about it when I stop wrestling (so maybe never…).
And last, but certainly not least, we had a happy new beginning in our life last week. I’ll write about that later too but for now I wanted to say thank you to all of you people who have prayed our family through some crazy stuff for a while now. I have no doubt we’ll keep having the crazy, but God’s timing of his miracles never cease to amaze me. Wednesday, another God-timed surprise fell into our laps. For that I am grateful.
Or in the words of the great Tom Petty:
Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown,
So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
A little snippet from Wildflowers at the Houston concert I attended in April: