Welcome back to Sunday’s worship at the Church of Springsteen.
Album: The River
Song: The River
Today’s lyrics, which are only two lines long, may be the best he’s ever written. In fact, there are few lyrics, or words, that have stayed with me as these have.
The song itself is about a teenage couple and was drawn from his own real-life experience. Springsteen’s sister, Ginny, became pregnant at age 18 and quickly married her child’s father, Mickey, who took a union construction job to support his family. They struggled very hard, as many people did back in the late 70’s, the way many are still struggling today. He turned their story into his most moving working-class ballad with a soulful harmonica part that starts to sound like a funeral dirge as the song ends. It’s a story about the excitement of dreams that life sometimes takes away from us.
But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
How sad are those last two lines. The entire song is a haunting ballad but those two lines cut to the core of our souls. If you read them over again, you understand that they can only be written by someone who has been there and experienced the loss of a dream, someone they love, or even themselves. Two simply worded lines that tell ten thousand stories.
Here’s hoping we all find and live our dreams.
Thanks for stopping by today’s service.