Tag Archive: bruce springsteen


On the 9th of May Brenton and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, although we mark being together for 11 years more strongly. Our relationship still continues to grow, evolve, settle, change, as we ourselves do.

Here is one thing I think we got right. Very soon in our relationship we had a big bump. Something came up that neither of us knew how to deal with and we had a silent, sleepless and terrible night. The next morning I went about trying to fix what had gone wrong, and I did it with patience, gentleness and clarity. It was the first time I had gone about this in this way. In the past and in other relationships I would have exploded, been overwhelmed with rage, and fought with every tooth and nail, but I wanted so badly for this to have a positive outcome. I wanted us to come to a deep understanding and a place where things could be properly fixed.

We agreed that instead of drawing battle lines in the sand, and facing each other through life, we would stand together, side by side, looking out in the same direction, taking things on together. And this has meant our fights are rare. We hate fighting. Of course we do, but because they are so rare we are lost ships at sea, and have to find stiller waters so we can go back to our default position of love, support and communication.

When we got married we performed a little ritual called the Mexican knot as part of the ceremony. It is a rope in a figure eight. Each partner gets one circle of the rope around them and the symbolism is clear; we are joined (for eternity) yet also absolutely separate individuals.

We also had friends sing our favourite Bruce Springsteen love song as we came down the forest path, and the lyrics are our mantra, “Darling I’ll wait for you, and should I fall behind, wait for me.” I love this. When I think about its importance in the long term it makes such sense. We cannot predict how we will respond to all things on our life’s journey, nor who will take the lead, nor who might fall behind, but we will wait for each other, face forward together and it is both comforting and an extraordinary privilege.

[For the next post on Year 13 of Marriage let’s hear from Nate and Andrea Milheim]

last night the beautiful Val and Monkman and myself went to a homeless memorial service in town where a bunch of different organisations who work with homeless people, such as project home where will [who runs our alternative seminary classes] works to specifically remember those homeless or previously homeless people who had died in the last year – more than fifty names were read out at one part of the service which took place outside in the gentle rain…

at one point in the service a friend of the simple way played Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia’, one of my favourite and most moving of songs, which has never felt so apt [actually being on the streets of philadelphia] and the words are as follows:

“I was bruised and battered and I couldn’t tell
What I felt
I was unrecognizable to myself
I saw my reflection in a window I didn’t know
My own face
Oh brother are you gonna leave me
On the streets of philadelphia

I walked the avenue till my legs felt like stone
I heard the voices of friends vanished and gone
At night I could hear the blood in my veins
Black and whispering as the rain
On the streets of philadelphia

Ain’t no angel gonna greet me
Its just you and I my friend
My clothes don’t fit me no more
I walked a thousand miles
Just to slip the skin

The night has fallen, I’m lyin awake
I can feel myself fading away
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of philadelphia.”

[Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/bruce+springsteen/streets+of+philadelphia_20025067.html%5D

Jesus said, “There will always be poor people among you” and I think we often receive that in a resigned way – oh well, Jesus said there’s always going to be poor people so why even bother trying to make a difference. But i think He was speaking prophetically, not so much about what has to be the case [we do have enough resources for everyone at this present time] but from a place of knowing the heart of man – because you are greedy and put yourself first and choose your comfort over someone elses need, as a result of that, there will always be poor people among you.

this blog has the word ‘poor’ in the title so it is not going to get as many hits as say my relationship blogs [how can I do MY relationships better?] and the people who made it down this far are most likely not the ones who need to read or be reminded of any of this stuff, except maybe a little, and maybe it’s that little which counts. i know i need to hear it [and i have chosen to live in a poor neighborhood and work with poor people] because there is still a lot that needs to change in my own life.

but standing in the rain last nite with a whole lot of homeless people from all diverse backgrounds [poverty is not racist] and walks of life, and the people who work with them, i was moved once again that we can NOT SETTLE FOR THE WAY THINGS ARE – where those who have keep piling up more and more while those who don’t are left to suffer alone… especially as the church… part of our mandate is to look after the least of these.

“The night has fallen, I’m lyin awake
I can feel myself fading away
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of philadelphia.”

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