Hearts at Work

—A Column by Jim Tipton

“You May Say that I’m a Dreamer”


This year in Mexico we’ve been celebrating even more than usual, because it is both the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.

Lately my wife Martha and my daughter Gaby and I have been playing several times a day John Lennon’s inspirational song Imagine. John Lennon helped to create a revolution in music. 2010 marks the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth (born during a German air raid over Liverpool), and the 30th anniversary of his much too early death.

When he was seventeen John Lennon’s mother bought him a cheap Gallotone Champion guitar, “guaranteed not to split,” although his aunt, with whom he lived, warned him that “you’ll never make a living out of it.”

His schools labeled him as “hopeless,” “a clown in class,” “wasting other pupils’ time,” and when John decided to enter Liverpool College of Art, he failed all of the entry-level examinations, and only through the intervention of his aunt and headmaster was he allowed to attend. He quickly acquired a reputation for disrupting classes and ridiculing teachers, and he was threatened with expulsion for his antics.

During a life drawing class, John strolled to where a nude model was posing and then sat on her lap, posing with her. Before long he dropped out of Liverpool College, but by then he was already busy making music.

When he was 18 John wrote his first song, Hello Little Girl, which later became a UK top ten hit. Dozens of hits were to follow, usually in partnership with equally talented Paul McCartney. Some that come to mind are: “All You Need is Love,” “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Let it Be,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which was the Beatles first #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, 1963.

“Imagine,” a favorite of our family, was written after the Beatles had broken up and John was on his own. It became the title song of his second solo album, Imagine (1971), and almost immediately it rose to #1 throughout the world. Ten years later, after his death, it again became a #1 hit in the UK. It is easy to find on YouTube (and with Spanish lyrics for your Spanish-speaking companions).

The message is clear and simple, and eternal. Here are the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky


Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace


You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one


Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world


You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one


A better world begins by imagining a better world, a world without political boundaries, without religions with their competing ideas of a heaven and a hell, without so much attention to accumulation and so little attention to sharing. Try imagining this better world. Yes, people may say that you’re a dreamer…but you’re not the only one.

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