I participated in a conference where I was entertained by a speaker who used humor to educate. At the end of his presentation, he shared with us a story (in a serious tone) about a woman’s courage. The tale was short on Susan Boyle, the British singer; her story touched my heart. I want to expand on what I know she accomplished for all of us.
At birth, Susan was oxygen-deprived, leading to a life of learning difficulty. She didn’t have the looks that could have overcome her deficiency, as she sported frizzy hair and an odd-shaped face. Abuse ensued, with children teasing her mercilessly; the teasing followed her through adulthood. Her comment to interviewers after performing was, “the jibes left scars that don’t heal.”
Romance and love were not given to Susan as she made claim to never been kissed. As a result, she dedicated her life to her parent’s care. Singing was her escape allowing her to participate in a world where she excelled naturally. Her mother insisted Susan share her talent with the world by going on the “Britain’s got talent” show.
Picture for a moment the courage it must have taken for this wonderful soul to appear on stage, honoring a commitment to her mother. She knew in her heart that each and every time someone new looked at her, they immediately began to scorn her. She knew that the stage was witnessed by over 3,000 and over 10 million were watching live on TV.
As she walked out, all prophesies were fulfilled. Not only was the audience snickering, but the judges were as well. Think now how it must have felt to be Susan at this time in her life; think of her courage! She held constant to an inner belief, knowing she had a gift and was not participating in a beauty pageant. Perhaps singing was her safety net, which she had used many times in her life before.
When asked, “What are you going to do?” The insults continued as she shared with the world her dreams and aspirations. In the opening lines of her song, the audience miraculously began to applaud, and a complete change occurred before our eyes. Her voice penetrated all who have ever dreamed a dream. Her voice echoed into eternity, giving hope to all who share these fears. In the end, she was given a standing ovation. Being new to entertainment, she immediately walked off the stage.
The judges had to recall her so they could remark on their feelings. The judges and the audience were humiliated, knowing they had judged a fellow human being inappropriate. Morgan, a judge, commented, “Everyone laughed at you, but no one is laughing now.” This perhaps became a wake-up call to all who, too, had placed a sentence on this brave woman.
We live in a world where beauty is expected to excel. We pass to those with the look, even if they lack the talent. Those who don’t patronize the gym, buy the latest fashion, or have natural curves perhaps are required to push through subconscious objections.
Susan knew if her talent failed her, she would again be humiliated, this time in front of the world. This brave soul took courage by the hand and, with a heart of determination, walked out on stage. Yes, saying no, or walking away at this time guaranteed a continuous unglamorous existence, but didn’t allow for a commitment made or a belief felt.
What is your talent? What is in your heart? What is keeping you from reaching your desires? Susan may have come from a place of the lowest expectations, yet she climbed heights many will never see.
Don’t wait to be plucked from obscurity. Share what lies within your heart. Talents are given to be shared and taken away if left idle. Look deeper, feel more intensely, and reach within your soul. Express the greatness inside each of you. Bless our lives with who you are! A bright future is given to those who make their dreams a reality.