Letting Go of the Balloon String

One of my favourite songs since childhood is the German synth-loaded pop tune “99 Luftballons” by Nena.  Not the English version–the German original.  As a child, it felt deliriously beautiful.  I could dance to it all day.

As a teenager, I took German in high school–no word of a lie–so I could find out what the lyrics meant and sing them correctly.  I grew to love the language itself, but I have to say, my second year class that revealed all to me was a highlight of those years.  Of course, I promptly found out exactly how dark and ominous a metaphor it was.  This made me love it more.

99 years of war.  Losses and a broken world.  A long journey, a struggle, born of an innocent gesture.  A gesture that is repeatedly, in memoriam.  It’s far more moving than the shimmering, sunny melody would have you believe.

Sometimes, life is that way.  It’s an uphill battle, one with well-intentioned actions that go astray.  Sometimes, you run out of spoons.  Sometimes, the fear that once motivated you?  It pushes your head under water.

And then, the dust clears.  Someone offers a kind word.  You find the spoons.  Your heart sings with new ideas.

At that moment, you stand outside, with that little red balloon, that novel you always meant to query, until the ground fell away beneath you.  You smile to yourself, give a hopeful tug against the helium’s resistance, and let it go.

(What comes next?  I promise to share that soon.)


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