Boulevard of Broken Dreams—Dream On!

Boulevard of Broken Dreams—Dream On!

Genesis 37:1-11 (NIV)

My goodness. Joseph, Joseph, Joseph. The saga of Joseph. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the “coat of many colours” story of Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. This was the first Lloyd Webber and Rice musical performed publicly. The show has little-spoken dialogue and is almost entirely sung-through. It’s a sad tale as is the Biblical story of Joseph. It truly is like a boulevard of broken dreams.

What do you see in your mind when you think about a boulevard of broken dreams? How do you envision it? I see it as something like this photo. An empty road strewn about with bits and pieces of things that used to work, but that no longer resemble anything once dreamt of or needed. Things left by the road to rust or decay. Loneliness.


Remember the song, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day? Green Day is an American punk rock band formed in 1986. In their song, they lament about the American Dream and how it can let you down. It speaks to estrangement and how the singer’s hopes have been crushed. How he finds himself alone and broken. Look up the lyrics…you’ll be depressed. (LOL!)

The title of this song is also the title of a famous painting. Boulevard of Broken Dreams is a 1984 Gottfried Helnwein painting. Helnwein’s painting is a parody of a 1942 painting by Edward Hopper entitled Nighthawks. In Helnwein’s painting, he replaces the three patrons shown in Hopper’s painting with the American pop culture icons Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe (my husband’s fav), James Dean, and with Elvis Presley (my fav) as the attendant. Amazing how things intertwine, right?

My print of the Boulevard of Broken Dreams

So here we are with Joseph’s story. Kinda the same type of depression story—a boulevard of broken dreams. Joseph is the 11th of 12 sons. Jacob, also called Israel, had 12 sons with Joseph being his favorite. He gave him this magnificent coat of many colors. Then Joseph has this dream. Unfortunately, he tells the dream to his brothers of wheat bowing down to him. Then he has another dream that goes further. Again he tells the dream of the sun and moon and stars bowing down to him to not only his brothers but his father as well. His brothers already hated him. Now they hate him even more after he tells them both dreams.

At first, they thought they might kill him but decided to throw him into a pit where dreams go to die. Caravan of traffickers come along and the brothers sell him to them instead. Brothers then take his coat, dip it in animal blood, and take it to their father. The father now thinks Joseph is dead. From that point we see Joseph walking down the boulevard of broken dreams. He’s feeling alone and broken. When have you found that feeling in your life?

Joseph had great dreams but life took a turn and cast him down. Then his life took a turn for the better. But then once again his life turned for the bad. He ended up in jail for years. While in jail, Joseph interpreted the other jailers’ dreams. One of whom he interprets a good future. Joseph asked him to remember him but he doesn’t.

Do you find at times you’re caught in quicksand with one bad thing after another happening? Does life interpret your dream? It’s the loneliest place in the world to be on the boulevard of broken dreams. But God is with Joseph. He just doesn’t fully realize it yet. Still, he hangs on anyway. Likewise, God never abandons us. No matter how we feel.

Later in the story, the guy finally remembered Joseph and his ability to interpret dreams. So he interpreted the King’s dream. Seven years of plenty but then seven years of famine. He recommended to the King that they store and save during the seven years of plenty. The King put Joseph in charge. Joseph saved Egypt by putting food back and storing it.

Later Jacob and his 11 sons went to Egypt for food which caused them to bow down to Joseph. Joseph’s dream came true. Joseph now had the power and opportunity to crush them. However, God took their evil and made it for good for many.

At 17 Joseph thought it was all about him. Years later he understood it was all about the blessing and helping of others.

What are your dreams and hopes? When did you find yourself on the boulevard of broken dreams? What did you do? How did you respond?

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!


Regina Stone Matthews was born in Columbia, South Carolina. She attended Therrell High School in Atlanta, Georgia and West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. Currently, Regina resides in Richardson, Texas with her husband, David. She has three daughters and four grandchildren. She is the author of the children's chapter books "Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson-When I Dream;" "Dealing with Margaret: Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson-When I Dream" and the double award-winning book "I'm a Detective! Elizabeth Marie Hutchinson-When I Dream."