If I Can Dream


If you could speak to your younger self, send a message back through time to yourself at another age, what would you say?

Hindsight is a bittersweet quality, only available when its strategic usefulness has expired, so if you could benefit a younger you with it’s wisdom, what would you tell?

It’s a question that comes to me after a bit of a strange experience yesterday. I was driving to work and as usual had the music up loud, singing along. It was the soundtrack to All Shook Up, the musical I’m currently in rehearsal for, with all of the songs being Elvis Preseley songs. Some of the vocal arrangements are just gorgeous, and being a sucker for massed voices I often am moved to a tear or two just at the beauty of them.

There’s a song called ‘If I Can Dream’ which has particularly moving sentiments and arrangement, and as it played yesterday morning going along Morphett Road, I was really listening to it when I realised I was actually sobbing.

What the hell? What was going on?

The particular verse that sparked me off said:

“There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away
the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear”

And as quickly as I asked myself the question I saw in my mind myself, about 15 years ago, in very different, difficult circumstances. I was in Glasgow. My mum had just died and I had a three month old baby. A month before the baby’s birth my (now ex) husband had just confessed that most of the things he’d told me about himself, our finances and a lot of other things were out and out lies; and the last thing my mum had said to me before she died was to ask me to promise to look after my dad.

My world had crumbled in a lot of ways, I was broke and to a certain extent broken. I really was at my lowest ebb with nothing and little support (I realise now if I’d spoken to my family I’d have had more support, but I felt such shame because of my then husband that I didn’t).

But, you know, although mum wasn’t there in body, she was there in spirit. I could hear her speak and she was saying, as she did in life, that even if I had nothing else I could dream. I could feel myself absorb her strength, and dream I did – and dreamed large!

I had always wanted to return to Adelaide where I’d spent my formative school years, and to bring my son up here. Adelaide always felt like home.

Just like the song said, I dreamed of peace and understanding, away from the marital rows, I dreamed of something taking away the fear I felt, and oh how I dreamed of that warmer sun as I sat under Glasgow’s drizzling skies.

And I think that the strength of my vision, my dream moved me to action, and from there I find myself fifteen years later, listening to a song that’s hit home and wishing I could go back and tell the me of 1995 that everything was going to be just fine.

That I would make it to Adelaide and have a wonderful life with great friends. That, with the help of my sister we would look after dad just fine until he died in peacefully, in 08; that I’d be lucky enough to work in a beautiful place with great people, that my son would grow and thrive, and that after getting away from the ex I would meet the most wonderful man who is truly my soulmate and this weekend we celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

So, I suppose my message to me back then, and to anyone else who would care to listen is to continue to dream and to make it as big a dream as possible. Any limitations are only those imposed by you upon yourself, so be kind to yourself and give those dreams some welly!

Never underestimate the power of your dreams to come true, and never underestimate the power of a song to transport you back in time and so eloquently empathise with your situation.

And as for me, blubbing on Morphett Road on a Friday morning – yeh, spent the day with ruined makeup and puffy eyes, but jeez its worth it!

If I Can Dream
By Walter Earl Brown

There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true
Oh why

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away
the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

Deep in my heart there’s a tremblin’ question
Still I am sure that the answer, answer’s gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle, yeah
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream, please let my dream
Come true……right now

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