In 1996 I was having a hard time in my life, a deep, depressing personal crisis. I felt lost, troubled, and very lonely. There was nothing in my life that could take me out of the void my life had become, a void that was both inside and around me. I was surrounded by people, faces, words; but I had absolutely no connection with them. I did not even cry, for it would have required energy, and anyway it would have been useless.
I had a ticket for a Tom Joad’s concert, and I decided to go. I entered that theatre and listened to Bruce talking to me for two hours. The show was magnificent, but I had that lump in my throat that was not leaving. Even there, my depression was overshadowing everything, and also that was terrible to me, because if not even Bruce was able to rise me from my state, I feared nothing really could. And I didn’t want that.
At the end of the show he began Across the border. I wasn’t expecting that. It’s such a sweet song, both in lyrics and melody, and suddenly I felt myself dissolve in tears, and every cold black hole in me beginning to warm. I began to cry, because those words, those WHAT ARE WE WITHOUT HOPE IN OUR HEARTS were fundamental to me in that moment. I know that the poor emigrant most likely will not find a real Promised Land at the end of his journey: but that’s not the point. He has faith he will do it, and that’s what matters. I went out serene for the first time in months, no fears, no black holes, the pain stilled. I was not healed, but I knew I would have done it, I had hope, and that’s the most important grace in life: to have a light in the darkness of your desperation.
I’ll always remember that moment, one of the most moving in my life, bound to an absolute beautiful song.