"If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot
My dad passed away almost 25 years ago, but as I was growing up he often worked away from home for long stretches at a time. For example, when the Alaskan Oil Pipeline was being built, he would go up to Bethel (I think that’s the town) for weeks at a time (it wouldn’t have been a very fun commute if it wasn’t run that way) and then be home for a few weeks.
I remember being really excited one day for him to come home; I’m not certain if he was working out of town and had been gone a long time, or if it was from when he was working in and around Anchorage, where we lived. I was simply excited for him to walk through the door. I believe I was 3 or 4, so he may have listened to it on his 8-track player on his way home, because the song was released in 1969, when I would have been only a year old, but he did listen to a lot of AM radio, too!
http://youtu.be/ngo2B5tibLQ - Link takes you to "If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot on Youtube.
Anyway, I was excited for him to be home; as he came in the door I remember sort of happy dancing around his feet as he came in and put his things down. As he took off his work coveralls, he sang – in a silly voice – “If I could read your mind girl, what a tale your thoughts would tell.” Then he asked what I wanted. I remember this happening more than once until I was around 8, when we moved to a different house and life started to change a lot. Or maybe it was just because I was getting older and could remember and understand what was happening better.If you’ve never listened to the entire song, or have, but don’t know all the words, I really encourage you to follow the link to the Youtube video. When I finally found the song and as it cued up and began, I was smiling with the good feelings the melody brought back. I found some of the lyrics a little weird and I had to really stretch to make them “connect” - to make the song a cohesive story.
As I listened, I was fiddling with the stuff on my desk and only glancing now and then at the computer screen. But then the words stopped my fidgeting and I started to pay closer attention: “When you reach the part where the heartaches come, the hero would be me, but heroes often fail.” As I read along with the music, tears began to spill down my cheeks, and as the song went on, I felt so sad for my parents. They had a hard relationship; I really don’t have memories of my dad expressing deep feelings so the words to this song are so telling. I got a glimpse into the frustration he may have felt about his marriage, or his part in making it what it was. It’s so sad to me that love can sometimes be so hard; especially when the best thing is for the husband and wife to be divorced.
And then, maybe I’m just reading way too deeply between the lines. Maybe. I don’t know. But now when this song plays, I will have some different feelings. The happy memory with my dad isn’t tarnished, but the sad will now accompany it. It was sort of a nudge from God that it is worth working hard on my marriage, whether things are good or hard. Funny how He works and what He uses, eh?
In His love,