Susan Boyle is the overnight international sensation from “Britain’s Got Talent.” On April 11, 2009, she was greeted by an audience who dismissed her as odd and unworthy from the moment she walked onto the stage. Even judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, and Piers Morgan clearly looked upon her with bemusement. Then she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables.
Susan Boyle’s voice was so powerful and poignant, so utterly beautiful, the only thing that rivaled it was her own fairy tale story. Within seconds members of the audience were in tears, judges’ eyes widened and jaws dropped, and in the end she was given a much-deserved standing ovation. The YouTube video of this event, along with a couple of other song videos quickly made available, attracted over 100 million hits within 9 days of her coming-out performance. At age 47, Susan Boyles attracted worldwide attention, affirmation, and adoration.
The embarrassing part of the tale is the arrogance and presumption evidenced by the audience and judges before Susan sang, all based upon her appearance. She clearly did not present herself well. She’d traveled by train for a couple of days, had not changed her dress or fixed her hair, was awkward in her social interaction, is heavy set and otherwise not an especially attractive woman. But still, the audience’s quick put-down attitude is a shame to us all because if we’d been there we’d likely have reacted right alongside them.
Susan Boyle’s story is a long-deferred dream come true. She was born with a slight learning disability, had a father who treated her harshly and didn’t have much use for her, is the youngest of 4 brothers and 6 sisters, was unemployed, and cared for her Mother until 2007 when Mrs. Boyle passed away at age 91. The lyrics of “I Dreamed a Dream” fit her desire to use her extraordinary talent to become a professional singer, something only a local voice teacher and her Mother encouraged.
Susan Boyle isn’t perfect. She’s known to be feisty, has a temper, and can be less than socially adept. But reading her story and hearing her sing can bring tears to anyone’s eyes.
Two kinds of lessons abound, first for us about us:
--Aspire; dream dreams.
--Never give up on your dreams.
--Keep trying no matter what others say.
--Don’t always listen to experts.
--Everyone has talent(s); focus on your best.
Second, lessons for us about others:
--Never judge a book by its cover or a person by appearance.
--Treat people with respect no matter who they are.
--Give people the benefit of the doubt.
--Encourage others in the use of their talent(s).
--Always suppress arrogance.
There are many other lessons and much inspiration in Susan Boyle’s journey. People worldwide respond to her because she’s authentic. There’s no hype, no celebrity narcissism, no spin. So long ignored and so long without opportunity her triumph is a tale that uplifts the human spirit. It encourages us all because it suggests our dreams can also be fulfilled.
What arc Susan Boyle’s life takes hereon no one knows. But she’ll forever be a symbol of strength of spirit and resolve, the moral of her story being every human being is both valuable and significant.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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