Last night we drove home from Raleigh in the darkness, and as I sat there, squeezed in between my husband and middle child in the front seat of Todd’s truck, trying to figure out where to put my legs, I listened to the poetry Springsteen was singing from the speakers and it soaked into my brain and heart.

I can feel the soft silk of your blouse
And them soft thrills in our little fun house
Then the lights go out and it’s just the three of us
You me and all that stuff we’re so scared of
Gotta ride down baby into this tunnel of love

Maybe it was the three thanksgiving dinners I’d enjoyed in three consecutive days (Lord knows that an overdose of sweet potatoes with pecans can turn anyone into a mushy casserole dish of sentimentality) but it occurred to me right there on I-85 that Springsteen KNOWS WHAT LIFE IS! His words depict exactly what the world feels like to me right now, my family and my friends and the strangers I encounter, all of us packed together into this carnival ride of life, dipping and diving through all that stuff we’re scared of, reaching out and holding onto each other.

As we sat around our three Thanksgiving tables, each one groaning with the weight of the beautiful food passed by beautiful hands of all sizes and ages, I looked in the faces belonging to those hands and saw SURVIVORS. We have all survived such pain, haven’t we? We’ve all been broken, time after time, and yet we stay on the ride and hold hands.

It’s been a tough year. I look at my friends and my family, both sides, all extended, and I ache to remember the people we’ve lost this year- people we loved so much, folks that made us better just by knowing them. And I think of those I love who are suffering now, suffering from disease, from love betrayed, from dreams lost, from fear of what’s ahead.

Yet we stay on the ride, and as we huddle in close, somehow this brokenness becomes sacred.

I’ve tried to figure out how this works.

I can only speak for myself, but I know that when I face my own weaknesses and brokenness, God shows me the holiness in the people around me.  I see it radiate, I see it light up the tunnel, and I’m so thankful that I have to hold back tears.

There’s a crazy mirror showing us both in 5-D
I’m laughing at you you’re laughing at me
There’s a room of shadows that gets so dark brother
It’s easy for two people to lose each other in this tunnel of love

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.

People, I’m so glad you’re riding along with me! Today I’m giving thanks for every one of you!

Cuddle up angel, cuddle up my little dove
We’ll ride down baby into this tunnel of love.