Reason to Believe: Part Two

This article is a continuation to a previous discussion for a Daily Prompt. While it isn’t required to read the first part I would appreciate it if you did. The first part can be found here.


Today’s Daily Prompt:

Reason to Believe

In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day, people find some reason to believe. What’s your reason to believe?


Verse by Verse

As I said before, I think the best way to present my answers is by going through each verse. Remember, these are just my own interpretations of these lyrics. The beauty of music is that everyone hears something different.

Verse One

Seen a man standin’ over a dead dog lyin’ by the highway in a ditch 
He’s lookin’ down kinda puzzled pokin’ that dog with a stick 
Got his car door flung open he’s standin’ out on highway 31 
Like if he stood there long enough that dog’d get up and run 
Struck me kinda funny seem kinda funny sir to me 
Still at the end of every hard day people find some reason to believe 

This verse demonstrates how some can have faith in the impossible being accomplished, or hoping for a miracle even when observing death. We know, without a doubt, that death is final, but there’s always that lurking anticipation that maybe a higher power could negate it. This verse makes me think of something in my life that isn’t entirely impossible, but the odds are stacked against me. I’ve dedicated a huge amount of time and energy to growing my career, so much so that I work seven days a week, and sometimes spend 16 hours of the day on my computer. My goals are high, eventually culminating in a company I’ve dreamed of establishing that will take a stand against the dirty business practices so many giant corporations have used to make an extra buck.

In my current situation it will take several more years of near-constant struggle to get there, and there’s no certainty that I’ll see a return on my efforts. I own nothing of value and can’t even get a micro-loan, so there’s a lot of factors against me. The same goes for my writing career. I’d love to someday attain the type of prestige authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have achieved, but the chances are slim. Every day I face failures and discouraging results as the ‘fruit of my labors’, but I still keep trying. However, it isn’t any sort of faith that urges me to open my laptop every morning, especially not in myself.

I’ve dealt with poverty since my earliest memories. I know that the only way I can dig myself out of this hole is to work, work, work, so that’s what I do. But it isn’t just myself that I want to help. Because of my direct experience with many of the darker aspects of life I’ve always wanted to help others to overcome their past. If my only concern was bettering my life I’m sure I’d never reach my goals, but thinking of the thousand, even millions, of people and animals that also yearn for a brighter future pushes me to carry on more than any enticement or daydream of glory every could.

Verse Two

Now Mary Lou loved Johnny with a love mean and true 
She said baby I’ll work for you everyday and bring my money home to you 
One day he up and left her and ever since that 
She waits down at the end of that dirt road for young Johnny to come back 
Struck me kinda funny funny yea indeed how at the end of every hard earned day you can find some reason to believe 

This verse shows how love can be blind, how affection can hide the truth from you despite the clear evidence that you’ve been used and abandoned. I’ve been in a similar situation, but with a different ending. I feel in love with my third boyfriend very quickly, partly because I was young and naïve, but after a few months a mutual friend delivered some distressing news: another girl that he’d shown interest in for some time had moved back into town and he was trying to convince her to start a relationship with him. He didn’t even have enough respect for me to tell me to my face, and avoided me for the two weeks that this took place. All he told me was that he needed time to think and he’d let me know.

Over the time that we were apart I never got angry; I only fell into a depression at the thought of losing him. When he later returned to me he insinuated through a vague explanation that he’d chosen me over the other girl, but I soon found out from another source that that had been a lie. The reason he stayed with me was actually because the other girl had turned him down, telling him that she had no interest in him, but even after hearing that I still wanted to be with him.

With the assistance of a previous ex-boyfriend, I later realized that I deserved better than someone who could leave me so easily, so I ended the relationship, but at the time of our discourse my love-induced delusions about him made me willing to do anything to get him back. That’s what made me believe that he would choose me and be faithful once we resumed our relationship. I was wrong, of course, since he cheated on me after that, but perceived love can be very strong. My proof is the scar that runs down my arm, a result of my broken mind turning to pain in an attempt to distract itself from the emotional anguish I was going through.

 Verse Three

Take a baby to the river Kyle William they called him 
Wash the baby in the water take away little Kyle’s sin 
In a whitewash shotgun shack an old man passes away take the body to the graveyard and over him they pray Lord won’t you tell us, 
Tell us what does it mean 
At the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe 

I found this verse very interesting since, to me, it talks about people keeping their faith in their god even after said god has taken someone they love from them. It’s also a fantastic description of the cycle we must all follow and how people can continue living their lives even thought they realize death will come for them some day. I’ve actually struggled with this one a bit, but eventually the will of someone I cared about helped me soldier on.

The bond I had with my mother was so strong that even as a child I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Psychiatrists call it enmeshment and say it’s unhealthy (which I can understand now), but there were a lot of upsides to such a relationship. She was my best friend and greatest confidant. She happened to be a heavy smoker and was diagnosed with emphysema when she was in her 40’s. As she came into her 50’s the disease tore her apart, and smoking two packs a day certainly didn’t help. I knew her death was imminent, but I had no clue how I was going to live without her, so suicide became even more appealing than it already had been (see The Value of Stupidity). I couldn’t lie to her, so I never hid my intentions, and it was my blatant behavior that stopped me.

Any time I hurt my mom it destroyed me, even if it was an accident, so when she responded exactly as a loving mother would by telling me how much she didn’t want me to die with her it penetrated my fear of being without her. I’d always held her needs above my own, even to the point of stalling my career so I could care for her and spend time with her, so her resistance to my plan is what prevented me from following her the day she died. It was her belief in me, that I could function, even thrive, without her that kept me alive.

Verse Four

Congregation gathers down by the riverside 
Preacher stands with his bible, groom stands waitin’ for his bride 
Congregation gone and the sun sets behind a weepin’ willow tree 
Groom stands alone and watches the river rush on so effortlessly 
Wonderin’ where can his baby be still at the end of every hard earned day people find some reason to believe

Ah, love. Once again, another clear example of how love makes you ignore what could emotionally crush you. Really, it’s more of a survival instinct than anything else. This verse is a little different, though, since there’s no suggestion that the groom has been hurt by his bride before. His devotion to her is so strong that he believes something bad would have happened before the chance that she got cold feet and ran. I’ve never been stranded at the altar (knock on wood), but I have experienced an unexpected break (who hasn’t?)

When I was 15 my family moved to a small town where everyone knew each other and shortly after I started dating my second boyfriend. He had a very bad reputation for breaking hearts and only staying with any one girl for a few weeks at most, but we’d clicked really well (or so I thought). We’d built a friendship beforehand and he’s still one of my friends to this day, so I know we get along well. Everything was progressing nicely and I was deliriously happy, but one day he wouldn’t say a single word to me. Before that he’d always seemed eager to see me, but later that day he broke up with me by handing me a note (why I always ended up with guys that didn’t respect me enough to deliver bad news in person I’ll never know).

Despite my thorough understanding of his distant, promiscuous habits (stories abounded about his exploits, and every one of them had the ring of truth to them) that note was the last thing I’d expected from him.


What do you see when you read these lyrics?

Lyrics found at

3 thoughts on “Reason to Believe: Part Two

  1. Pingback: DAILY PROMPT: Reason to Believe | Nola Roots, Texas Heart
  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Reason to Believe – or not to believe, that is the question | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  3. Pingback: I Don’t Have Beliefs, But I Do Have Ideas | Pulsar Passages

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