Have you seen this video of Susan Boyle – from Britain’s Got Talent? She has a very unique story: 47 years old, charity worker, and never been kissed or on a date; Currently unemployed; and her previous singing experience was limited to the church choir and karaoke!
She was starved of oxygen at birth and has learning difficulties as a result. At school she was slow and had frizzy hair. She was bullied, mostly verbally. She told one newspaper that her classmates’ jibes left behind the kind of scars that don’t heal.
She didn’t have boyfriends, is a stranger to romance and has never been kissed. “Shame,” she said. Singing was her life-raft.
She lived with her parents in a four-bedroom council house and, when her father died a decade ago, she cared for her mother and sang in the church choir. [source]
I guess I have a soft spot with these things – but what I love the most isn’t just merely the discovery of someone with extraordinary talent but the humbling and inspiration that takes place…in all of us. There are lessons to be learned.
Notice the sneers, looks, judgments, and assumptions that nearly everyone makes – including the respective judges. The change of “perception” (judgment? -> wonder) in the faces of the judges – especially Simon Cowell – are a sight to see. And to be fair to them, I get it…
It’s pretty simple – she isn’t pretty. She doesn’t look the part. She doesn’t look like an entertainer. She doesn’t look charismatic. And so it begs the questions:
- Why do we trust our perception and judgment so much?
- Why are we so married to looks?
- Why are we enamored and at times, fooled by “dress for success” or “look the part?” [Think of the film, Catch me if You Can...]
- What is the balance?
I know I fall prey to this trap as well. I’m not saying there isn’t value in appearance and professionalism but it’s the condemnation that we should denounce. The instant judgment. This is a familiar story, isn’t it? I’m not talking about Paul Potts (another winning contestant in Britain’s Got Talent) but for us as Christians, Jesus wasn’t the most attractive dude with the most impressive lineage and resume.
How familiar? Consider these words:
Can anything good come from Nazareth? - John 1:46
and the words from Isaiah 53:2-3
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
And one of my favorite verses & stories from 1 Samuel 16:7. I can’t speak for others. God has extended His grace to me but there are times, I am fooled and do not extend this grace to others. God, Give me your eyes, ears, and heart…
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
or check out the translation from “The Message”:
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
Here is the full video:
Her voice is beautiful but her story may even trump it (via UK Telegraph):
Miss Boyle, who admits she has never been kissed, astonished the judges at the auditions for ITV1 show with her rendition of I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables. The clip of her audition has been viewed 2,485,245 times in 72 hours.
The 47 year old charity worker from West Lothian, announced from the stage that her dream was to emulate West End star Elaine Paige.
Her eccentric ways and less than polished appearance drew snickers from the audience when she initially appeared but they were mesmerised from the moment she broke into song and gave her a standing ovation.
Simon Cowell pronounced her voice “extraordinary” and Amanda Holden was reduced to tears by hearing her sing. Piers Morgan, their fellow judge, said the performance was “without a doubt the biggest surprise I have had in three years of this show”.
Miss Boyle, who says she has never been on a date or even been kissed, is now the favourite to win the 2009 series of Britain’s Got Talent.
And here’s the lyrics to the song she sang entitled, I Dream a Dream, from Les Miserables:
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted.
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame.
I dream he’ll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms
We cannot weather…
I had a dream my life would be
So different form this hell I’m living
so different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.