More on Susan Boyle…

More information on the remarkable Susan Boyle, who I linked to in the post below and the story just gets nicer and nicer, and one just wants all good things to happen for her.

It seems that Simon Cowell’s people are already pursuing Boyle, who got a standing ovation from her church after her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent.

Before going on stage, Ms. Boyle admitted some self-deprecating facts about herself (she’s never been kissed and lives alone with her cat, Pebbles). For those reasons and more, audiences were expecting the female William Hung. They were wrong.

I called her “eccentric” yesterday and was scolded by a reader, but I didn’t mean the word negatively. I am often called “eccentric” myself, and usually use the term when I mean “endearingly unique.” Boyle more than makes my case when she, appalled at her appearance on tv, remarked that she looked “like a garage”.

Watching the ITV1 show in her council home in West Lothian, she wasn’t focusing on her amazing rendition of West End hit I Dreamed a Dream. She was too shocked at how she looked.

Speaking exclusively to the Mirror, Susan, 48, said last night: “They say that television makes you look fat and it certainly did. “I looked like a garage. It was mortifying to see and a bit of a shock. I didn’t realise I could reduce people to tears and I hope it wasn’t because of that.”

But Susan – who has never had a boyfriend and was bullied because of her appearance while growing up – is determined not to let it upset her.

She got a standing ovation when she walked into her local Catholic church for yesterday’s Easter service.

She said: “It was incredible. Although we sing in church, not a lot of them knew how good I was, so it was a bit of a shock to them. I’m a bit shy and retiring so they would never have known. It was very emotional.

“Everyone is very nice and it’s lovely when all the kids stop me in the street to congratulate me.”

How good! And what a great “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” story. It’s a great lesson for all of us, both not to be hasty in thinking we know all about a person because of how he or she looks, but also that we not put off using our God-given gifts, simply because we’re afraid of what people will think of us – that we’re too fat, or too old, or too awkward. Screw that! As Buster said after watching the full-song video, “it doesn’t matter what the crowd thinks; if you can bring it, you shut them up in eight bars, and then they’re all for you.”

He’s right. Good for Susan Boyle, who brought it, in spades. I’d love to hear her sing without the crowd roaring, and without the backstage fellows carrying on, but then again – the reaction was understandable.

A Boyle-smitten reader
has sent in some trivia on her:

A lifelong Catholic, and one of the youngest of nine children, she cared for her aging parents while the rest of the family was out having a life. Her father died at a ripe old age about ten years ago and her mother died just two years ago. Miss Boyle has been in mourning for two years.

She’s a 47 year-old virgin and has never been kissed…and skipped mass for the first time in years in order to share her talent with the rest of us. In singing for Britain’s Got Talent, she fulfilled her mother’s last wish…for her mother wanted her God-given talent to shine before men for the glory of God.

Embedding is disabled on the unedited version – you have to go to youtube – but do take the time to do so. Some other great moments on Britain’s Got Talent, here.

You know, not to make it “all about me,” but watching the video for the first time last night, after the houseful of Easter company had left, the Boyle revelation almost felt like the final, reinforced Lenten lesson from the Holy Spirit. Last year, I learned all about my capacity to be hurtful. This year, I learned (a little) about being completely open to God and really trusting. I say “a little” because it’s clearly one of those life-long learning curves, but I have learned a bit this Lent – applicable in a million ways I can’t say here, but I touched on it once already. If I have learned nothing else from my short stint on In the Arena, it is (and I thank the Holy Spirit for the lesson) not to give a crap what anyone else thinks about my looks – as though that has any bearing on whether or not I have something to bring.

If you have something you do well, do it. If you want to study it, study it. Don’t let people and “the world” hold you back. One minute, “the world” is laying palms down at your feet, the next they’re calling for your death. What’s more fickle than “the world?” Dance and sing, write and ride, paint and learn, skip and dream before the Lord your God, and don’t care about anyone else’s judgments but His.

Bring what you have, and remember that some folks don’t even know what it is they can “bring,” so they may not understand you. Bless them, anyway. There is grace, and gift, there.

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