The story of one’s life has no end. It is simply told in your own blood until it is passed along to be told in the blood of those you love, who inherit it. As it’s told, it is altered, as all stories are in the telling. It continues to be told because along with the seed of its own immolation, the story carries with it the rebirthing seed of renewal…

We honor our parents by not accepting as the final equation the most troubling characteristics of our relationship. I decided between my father and me that the sum of our troubles would not be the summation of our lives together. In analysis you work to turn the ghosts that haunt you into ancestors who accompany you. That takes hard work and a lot of love, but it’s the way we lessen the burdens our children have to carry. Insisting on our own experience, our own final calculus of love, trouble, hard times and, if we’re lucky, a little transcendence. This is how we claim our own lives as sons and daughters, independent souls on our piece of ground. It’s not always an option. There are irretrievable lives and unredeemable sins, but the chance to rise above is one I wish for yours and mine.

I work to be an ancestor. I hope my summation will be written by my sons and daughter, with our family’s help, and their sons and daughters with their guidance…. But this kind of story has no end. It is simply told in your own blood until it is passed along to be told in the blood of those you love, who inherit it. As it’s told, it is altered, as all stories are in the telling, by time, will, perception, faith, love, work, by hope, deceit, imagination, fear, history and the thousand other variable powers that play upon our personal narratives. It continues to be told because along with the seed of its own immolation, the story carries with it the rebirthing seed of renewal, a different destiny for those who hear it than the painful one my father and I struggled through. Slowly, a new story emerges from the old, of differently realized lives, building upon the rough experience of those who’ve come before and stepping over the battle-worn carcasses of the past. On a good day this is how we live. This is love. This is what life is. The possibility of finding root, safety and nurturing in a new season. The tree sprouts, its branches thicken, mature, bloom. It is scarred by lightning, shaken by thunder, sickness, human events and God’s hand. Drawn black, it grows itself back toward light, rising higher toward heaven while thrusting itself deeper, more firmly, into the earth. Its history and memory retained, its presence felt.

—from “Long Time Comin’,” the final chapter of Born to Run

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Editor’s note: The featured image is a still from Mr. Springsteen’s short film, Hunter of Invisible Game.

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