Earlier this week, I discovered a connection between these two men, one the late founder of a worldwide ecclesiastical movement and the other ranked Rolling Stone's 23rd greatest artist of all time. Both men tell us we can encounter beauty and meaning in every moment.
As a woman who started life in New Jersey and now is raising her family here, I am drawn to Bruce Springsteen's soaring, rocking rhythms, and his lyrics, which hold out always the possibility of redemption. As I pulled into the parking lot of the high school the other day, the words of "Tunnel of Love" blaring from my van's CD player, provoked me in an entirely new way.
I was reminded of conversations I've been having with my School of Community as we work our way through Chapter 11 of Giussani's "Religious Sense," a chapter called "The Experience of the Sign" that speaks to the heart of Christianity. Every soul, he tells us, has infinite value, no matter the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Americans, in particular, think we need to change in order to find meaning: change our town, our job, our spouse even. But no, we do not need to change our circumstances in order to find the Divine, which is, in fact, imbedded in the here and now. Giussani writes:
"Upon gazing at reality, I have before me something which produces openness. Reality presentes itself to me in a way that... solicits me to engage in a search for some other thing, something beyond immediate appearances."
Springsteen's song is about a couple taking a ride at an amusement park. I used to think "Tunnel of Love" was supposed to be a metaphor for sex. But as with all his writing, it is about so much more than that. Now I think his "Tunnel of Love" is about our experience of reality, the difficult as well as the pleasant. I think it's about the whole of life with which we have been gifted.
It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above
if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love