Friday, April 24, 2009

The Susan Boyle Lesson

There are few moments in life when we confront our own failings head on. Good books cause us to do that and so, this week, did a short clip on You Tube. I’m sure many of us watched Susan Boyle’s triumphant audition on Britain’s Got Talent. It was a moment when a plain, middle aged, chubby spinster stood on stage and gave a riveting singing performance that wowed judges and audience alike. It was not the performance that we should take note of, as much as why it shocked us. To put it plainly, society judges the worth of an individual by what is written on the outside. It’s true, no? Oh we make exceptions for the extremely wealthy and powerful, but sad to say lovely people are valued and assumed to have more worth and talent than extremely plain ones.

How could we have gotten to this place? The Beatitudes give us a list of blessings and not one refers to external appearance, yet on this planet the people we idolize are the stars and actors who give us a beautiful figure and face to adore. That is why the Susan Boyle video was so stunning, because it took us to task for our attitudes, for our assumptions that a homely figure has no blessings to offer. Susan Boyle made us look inside ourselves.

As I mentioned earlier, good books do this, don’t they? They are the kind of books that stay in your mind long after the last page is turned. Often they are literary in nature (The Five People You Meet in Heaven, The Life of Pi, The Secret Life of Bees) but occasionally a romance will surprise you by painting a picture of a person so complex, so revealing of both their ugliness and spiritual beauty that you can’t get the book out of your mind. An example? The book Mrs. Mike, written by Benedict and Nancy Freedman in 1947. Do you have any favorite books that stay in your mind and soul?

5 comments:

PamelaTracy said...

I'm so glad you blogged about Susan Boyle. I lost my breath listening to her. Great message.

ecrunner said...

There are many lessons that can be taken from this woman. There are bands and artists that are just naturally "appealing" (like The Band IceBloc) and then there are those that we SHOULD be listening to, like Boyle.

EllenToo said...

I can't think of a book that meets your criteria but I can think of ex-students of mine that are very much in the category. Many were handicapped that people could couldn't get past the handicap and see the true person.

Dana Mentink said...

That's a shame, Ellen. So much wasted potential when we judge by appearances. Your students were lucky to have you.

Linda said...

"Leota's Garden" by Francine Rivers is one of those books for me--the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter being so tender, and how Francine used the granddaughter to open the eyes of other family members. And then you have the 'hot shot' college student with all the answers for older people. I recommend it to everyone I know! They are probably tired of hearing me. In second place, is "Color the Sidewalk for Me" by Brandilyn Collins.