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  • Ode To Susan Boyle

    April 17, 2009

    Have you watched the YouTube video of Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old British Idol contestant?

    If you haven’t, you should.

    Susan is kind of a frumpy middle-aged gal with bushy eye brows and not much style, but with a bright and charming personality.

    When she takes the stage to audition, she tells the judges that she wants to be a professional singer.  The judges raise their eye brows and make faces and steal not-so-secret glances at one another that all but say, “You? What a joke!”

    The camera pans the audience and catches a young gal who has crafted the perfect expression of scornful amusement (no doubt with much practice) that makes me want to slap her.  Except I’m sorta feeling the same thing.

    But all of this is lost on Susan, or at least she shows no evidence that she notices or cares.  In her frumpy church dress and her white shoes, bad hair and ample eye brows, she stands before the judges with cheerful confidence.

    And then she opens her mouth to sing and out comes the voice of angels, sophisticated lyrical phrasing and perfect pitch. The inside does not match the outside.  The judges are blown away. The audience is blown away. Everyone goes wild and leaps to their feet to cheer her.  No one had any idea.

    When she is finished, she cheerfully leaves the stage expecting nothing more whereas I would have maybe hollered something like, “So there! Take that you fill-in-the-blanks!!” And then blown raspberries to punctuate my point.

    This video sends shivers down my spine. Not only because of Susan’s amazingly beautiful voice that pierces my heart but because I think of how often I make judgments about people by what I see on the outside and how often I am wrong and how often I must be missing out on something wonderful because I have already dismissed them with scornful amusement.

    Susan had good reason to stand before the judges with confidence. She knew what was inside of her. She knew.

    * * *

    “…Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

    1st Samuel 16:7

    42 Comments »

    1. edj says:

      I know! I love her. She’s totally my hero.

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    2. Vanderbilt Wife says:

      Our president at LifeWay played it in chapel on Wednesday. What a great inspiration to live your dreams!

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    3. jean says:

      I watched the video yesterday and was blown away. What an amazing voice. She is a diamond in the rough.

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:45 am

    4. suzanne says:

      Yes, all that you said, but you said it much more eloquently than I could have…….I loved her heart, like i really love yours too! :)

      Suzanne

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    5. Carrie says:

      Ooh, good point. God’s been hitting me a lot this week with reminders about not judging people…guess I need it. :)

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    6. Kay says:

      So true! I thought the same thing. But you always say it better. : )

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:58 am

    7. Bill McNutt says:

      First – glad to see you back online. I was beginning to dispair.

      I’m gonna go hunt down that video. I’ve seen her on the news and around the net, but I’ve yet to see the performance.

      I’ve been beaten about the head and shoulders with the lesson about judging on appearance for 40 years or so, yet I still do it. I wonder why?

      Bill

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    8. Pat says:

      I cry every time I see the video and hear her sing! She is wonderful!

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    9. Ashleigh (Heart and Home) says:

      Absolutely spot on. Susan Boyle made me cry. Even my husband’s Marines are blown away and awed–they’re actually forwarding this video around through their military email accounts, right beside official government-related messages. This has hit me between the eyes this week being that my big, life-changing lesson in God’s schoolhouse the past couple weeks has been about outward judgement. May He greatly bless sweet and humble, angelic Susan Boyle!

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    10. AlyGatr says:

      I had heard some buzz about her, but hadn’t paused to take a look…but I am so glad I watched the clip. She has pluck AND a beautiful voice. I actually teared up. That is the first genuine smile I’ve seen on Simon Cowell’s face…maybe ever. Blow that out your hind end Britney!

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    11. Pat says:

      Re the Bible Study – I have given the information to several friends so they can check it out. Thanks!

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    12. Leslie says:

      I read in an article a quote from her priest saying that, although she sang at church, Susan never flaunted her voice or received recognition for her talent. That reminded me of the verses “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10) and “But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.” (Psalm 3:3) I’m so happy for her.

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    13. Tracy says:

      I’ve seen this video several times this week and it NEVER fails to move me. She’s clearly won the hearts of many for good reason. I love cheering for the underdog, yet I too felt a sting of conviction for underestimating Susan Boyle. Like you, I couldn’t help but wonder how many others I’ve so easily (and pridefully) dismissed. Ouch.

      Blessings,
      Tracy

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    14. Antique Mommy says:

      I hope on that appointed day I will be able to stand before the judge confident of what I have on the inside. Got work to do.

      April 17th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    15. Pam D says:

      I’ve watched the video several times, and several different versions. The ones with the judges’ comments afterwards are wonderful. With millions of people viewing the video, she has her wish to be more famous than Elaine Paige.. truly, she has played to the masses and they LOVE her. What IS it about that show (did you see Paul Potts last year? Same story, different verse.. and both of them are so sweet and humble). Right now, we all need some feel good moments, and Susan Boyle has provided us with a hatful!

      April 17th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    16. Alison says:

      I watched the video yesterday and couldn’t stop smiling. (She sang one of my favorite songs, too.) I love the connection you made: that we shouldn’t judge based on others’ outside appearances, and that she was confident because she knew what was inside her. Very insightful!

      April 17th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    17. Debbie says:

      I love this post. Thank you.

      April 17th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    18. gretchen says:

      I think seeing Susan Boyle is seeing a message straight from God. I showed thru tears and a lump in my throat to my oft-judged 12 y.o. son, and to my “more typically developing daughter”. I know, and have often told them that God doesn’t make junk. This is a sweet affirmation of that fact. “Be yourself” never looked so good.

      April 17th, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    19. JanMary, N Ireland says:

      I love watching that clip – and the realization on Simon Cowell’s face is priceless.

      Can’t wait to see her in the live shows.

      April 17th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    20. MC says:

      I loved this video too. The best part, to me, was that she finished and was walking off stage. No arrogance. No waiting and watching the applauding audience. And, in a recent Good Morning America interview, it seems she has remained humble.

      April 17th, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    21. LIB says:

      I totally agree!

      April 17th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    22. Heidi says:

      I’ve watched the video several times and end up with a headache from holding back the tears.
      I seriously want to weep when I hear her voice, it is so beautiful. More importantly, her countenance is beautiful. Her light truly seems to shine.

      You might want to find videos of Paul Potts and a little girl named Connie from the same show. They also wowed the audiences and judges in previous years.

      April 17th, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    23. Faerylandmom says:

      Amen.

      April 17th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    24. AllieS says:

      I actually saw footage of her in a clip on tv. The sound was down and I did not pay attention to it because I saw how she looked and assumed she was an awful singer. More for comic relief. If I hadn’t read this post I would have never had the chance to hear her sing. My loss for being quick to judge appearances. Thank you.

      April 17th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    25. Bee says:

      That was a wonderful video. I didn’t hold back the tears. It was so heartwarming to see the beautiful be humbled by a truly beautiful uperson with a magnificent voice.

      April 17th, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    26. Heather says:

      “She didn’t know it couldn’t be done, so she went ahead and did it.” – Mary’s Almanac

      April 17th, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    27. Pam says:

      I pray the ‘powers that be’ do not give Susan a fancy makeover. She’s perfectly beautiful as is.

      April 17th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    28. tami says:

      I’m thinking about doing an online study of the same book for our church. Have any recommendations?

      April 17th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    29. ruth ann says:

      So good to read the comments and know that I’m not the only one who cried like a baby while watching this video!! Thanks for writing about her – your comments are always uplifting and insightful!

      April 17th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    30. Donna W says:

      Indeed, that video reminded us all that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

      April 17th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    31. Becca says:

      I love her expression of being completely unruffled by the titters and snickers coming at her. Her confidence doesn’t lie in what someone who doesn’t even know her thinks of her. Her confidence lies in what she knows to be true. I also love her answer to Simon when he asks her why she’s not become a famous singer yet and she says “I’ve never had the chance.” Isn’t that lovely? She knew the moment she had the chance that something would happen.

      Can you tell I’ve been thinking about this a lot??

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    32. Janis says:

      I just loved her grace and poise in front of the “we have seen it all” judges.

      I have even judged those who are beautiful on the outside,not daring to believe that they could be just as lovely on the inside. Shame on me and the green-eyed monster.

      April 17th, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    33. Michelle says:

      Our local news actually played it and it brought tears to my eyes. She is amazing – and I love the comment that God shows us NOT to judge in the most amazing ways….

      April 18th, 2009 at 12:27 am

    34. suma says:

      thank you sharing this…this was inspiring…i loved her attitude, and the moment when she finished singing and just walked away, and they had to call her back…priceless…

      April 18th, 2009 at 2:11 am

    35. Jenny says:

      I loved this post. I loved hearing the amazing voice come out of her mouth. She is truly beautiful.

      April 18th, 2009 at 2:21 am

    36. Linda says:

      I can’t stop watching this video. I keep checking to see how many viewers it has had. As of right now, she’s up over 26 million, and if you count the other versions of her performance, she’s up over 35 million.
      I love watching the judges almost as much as I do Susan.
      I hope she goes on to take first place. She deserves it like no one else!
      Britain seems to have a remarkable number of amazingly talented singers. Try searching youtube for Charlie Green, and for Andrew Johnston (talk about the voice of an angel!)

      April 18th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    37. Marie says:

      Even before you mentioned it here, I happened upon Susan’s video on Yahoo home page. Wow! I have listened at least a dozen times or more. What a genuine, sweet woman with such a big powerful voice. You have to wonder at our American Idol when Britain’s Got Talent produces such talent as that. And last year Paul Potts and Connie Talbot, both of whom have cd’s out and both of which I own. One an assuming young man and the other a 6 year old girl.
      Susan was on Good Morning America the next day via sattelite and I have heard she’s also been on the Today show.
      I hope they don’t groom her up too much – she’s adorable just the way she is.
      Good luck Susan Boyle.
      And thanks for mentioning her on your blog.

      Hugs,
      Marie

      April 18th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    38. Fraulein says:

      We watched this video together earlier this evening, and my husband and I were marveling at this lady’s talent and at all the media attention she is getting. Our 4-year-old daughter heard me mention how some of the news stories have referred to her as “ugly,” even while praising her singing talent. And my daughter said, “I don’t think she’s ugly. I think she’s perfect.” I hope Susan Boyle knows how admired she is now by people all over the world!

      April 18th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    39. Beverlydru says:

      I’m so happy you posted this. Someone asked me yesterday if I’d seen it and I hadn’t. Amazing. Stunning. I think everyone loves to see the underdog come out victorious because who hasn’t ever felt like the underdog? It becomes a personal victory. Thank you, Susan Boyle, for standing for all of us!

      April 19th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    40. Sally says:

      I think we are all guilty of judging others on outward appearance before ever giving anyone a chance. This video should be a powerful lesson to all of us.

      April 20th, 2009 at 8:36 am

    41. shayne says:

      I signed up for the bible study. Can’t wait.

      April 20th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    42. tami says:

      Thank you for inviting our church to join your online study. However, since it is going to be a “from the pulpit” endorsed study, it must be overseen by someone on our staff – i.e. me! Nevertheless, I already have the book and may just join in on your study – especially since yours starts earlier than ours – if that’s still okay?!!

      April 21st, 2009 at 11:13 am

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