Remember Susan Boyle? She went pretty far in the Britain’s Got Talent show back in 2009. But I recently was thinking about her and what heaven will be like, and realized there is something she teaches us about life, dreams, eternity, and heaven.
Watch this video before reading the rest of the post.
Here is an article for more information about Susan Boyle:
Susan Boyle’s story is a parable of our age. She is a singer of enormous talent, who cared for her widowed mother until she died two years ago. Susan’s is a combination of ability and virtue that deserves congratulation.
So how come she was treated as a laughing stock when she walked on stage for the opening heat of Britain’s Got Talent 2009 on Saturday night?
The moment the reality show’s audience and judging panel saw the small, shy, middle-aged woman, they started to smirk. When she said she wanted a professional singing career to equal that of Elaine Paige, the camera showed audience members rolling their eyes in disbelief. They scoffed when she told Simon Cowell, one of the judges, how she’d reached her forties without managing to develop a singing career because she hadn’t had the opportunity. Another judge, Piers Morgan, later wrote on his blog that, just before she launched into I Dreamed a Dream, the 3000-strong audience in Glasgow was laughing and the three judges were suppressing chuckles.advertisement
It was rude and cruel and arrogant. Susan Boyle from Blackburn, West Lothian, was presumed to be a buffoon. But why?
Britain’s Got Talent isn’t a beauty pageant. It isn’t a youth opportunity scheme. It is surely about discovering untapped and unrecognised raw talent from all sections of society.
And Susan Boyle has talent to burn. Such is the beauty of her voice that she had barely sung the opening bars when the applause started. She rounded off to a standing ovation and – in her naivety – began walking off the stage and had to be recalled.
Susan, now a bankable discovery, was then roundly patronised by such mega-talents as Amanda Holden and the aforementioned Morgan, who told her: “Everyone laughed at you but no-one is laughing now. I’m reeling with shock.” Holden added: “It’s the biggest wake-up call ever.”
The answer is that only the pretty are expected to achieve. Not only do you have to be physically appealing to deserve fame; it seems you now have to be good-looking to merit everyday common respect. If, like Susan (and like millions more), you are plump, middle-aged and too poor or too unworldly to follow fashion or have a good hairdresser, you are a non-person.
I dread to think of how Susan would have left the stage if her voice had been less than exceptional. She would have been humiliated in front of 11 million viewers. It’s the equivalent of being put in the stocks in front of the nation instead of the village. It used to be a punishment handed out to criminals. Now it is the fate of anyone without obvious sexual allure who dares seek opportunity.
This small, brave soul took her courage in her hands to pitch at her one hope of having her singing talent recognised, and was greeted with a communal sneer. Courage could so easily have failed her.
Yet why shouldn’t she sound wonderful? Not every great singer looks like Katherine Jenkins. Edith Piaf would never have been chosen to strut a catwalk. Nor would Nina Simone, nor Ella Fitzgerald. As for Pavarotti But then ridicule is nothing new in Susan Boyle’s life. She is a veteran of abuse. She was starved of oxygen at birth and has learning difficulties as a result. At school she was slow and had frizzy hair. She was bullied, mostly verbally. She told one newspaper that her classmates’ jibes left behind the kind of scars that don’t heal.
She didn’t have boyfriends, is a stranger to romance and has never been kissed. “Shame,” she said. Singing was her life-raft.
She lived with her parents in a four-bedroom council house and, when her father died a decade ago, she cared for her mother and sang in the church choir.
Then, when a special occasion comes along, they might reach, as Susan did, for the frock they bought for a nephew’s wedding. They might, as she did, compound the felony of choosing a colour at odds with her skin tone and an unflattering shape with home-chopped hair, bushy eyebrows and a face without a hint of make-up. But it is often evidence of a life lived selflessly; of a person so focused on the needs of another that they have lost sight of themselves. Is that a cause for derision or a reason for congratulation? Would her time have been better spent slimming and exercising, plucking and waxing, bleaching and botoxing? Would that have made her voice any sweeter?
Susan Boyle’s mother encouraged her to sing. She wanted her to enter Britain’s Got Talent. But the shy Susan hasn’t been able to sing at all since her mother’s death two years ago. She wasn’t sure how her voice would emerge after so long a silence. Happily, it survived its rest.
She is a gift to Simon Cowell and reality television. Her story is the stuff of Hans Christian Andersen: the woman plucked from obscurity, the buried talent uncovered, the transformation waiting to be wrought.
It is wonderful for her, too, that her stunning voice is now recognised. A bright future beckons. Her dream is becoming reality.
Susan is a reminder that it’s time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It’s people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect.
Susan has been forgiven her looks and been given respect because of her talent. She should always have received it because of the calibre of her character.
The song she sings comes from Les Miserables, which may be one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs ever. Every time I watch the movie, I weep at the part of the movie where Fantine sings for her broken dreams.
Here are the lyrics:
There was a time when men were kind,
And their voices were soft,
And their words inviting.
There was a time when love was blind,
And the world was a song,
And the song was exciting.
There was a time when it all went wrong…
I dreamed a dream in time gone by,
When hope was high and life, worth living.
I dreamed that love would never die,
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid,
And dreams were made and used and wasted.
There was no ransom to be paid,
No song unsung, no wine, untasted.
But the tigers come at night,
With their voices soft as thunder,
As they tear your hope apart,
And they turn your dream to shame.
He slept a summer by my side,
He filled my days with endless wonder…
He took my childhood in his stride,
But he was gone when autumn came!
And still I dream he’ll come to me,
That we will live the years together,
But there are dreams that cannot be,
And there are storms we cannot weather!
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living,
So different now from what it seemed…
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed…
Now why am I writing about all this here? What has so caught my attention about Susan Boyle and Fantine? Why does this song make me tear up?
Because this song, and Susan’s story, is the song of us all. Every person on earth has broken dreams, shattered hopes, lost loves. We all have a “Rosebud” (See the movie Citizen Kane). If you are like me, you often wish that life had a “do over” option. There are times and places in life you wish you could return to, but never can. There are grievous mistakes you made in life which you wish you could go back and undo. There are some memories you wish you could relive, and others you wish you could avoid.
And for many, I think that as life goes on, our list of things we wish we could have done, could have said, could have been, could have seen, gets longer and longer. This is why some people embark on their Bucket List.
But I sometimes think that in heaven, in our eternal life which begins after we leave this one, one of the things we will do for eternity is getting to do, go, be, and become all those things that we never got to experience in life. In the book, Safely Home, Li Quan wants to write and teach, but because he is a Christian living in Communist China, he spends most of his life running and hiding and fearing for his life. I don’t want to ruin the end of the book, but let me just say that at the end, his hopes and dreams are more than fulfilled.
Fantine sings this:
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living.
If you have unfulfilled dreams, shattered hopes, damaged relationships, know this: in the New Heavens and New Earth, part of the process of “wiping away every tear” will be, in my opinion, allowing Jesus to help you fulfill those dreams, achieve those hopes, and restore those relationships.
Heaven is not about sitting on clouds playing harps. It will be like this life, but without the pain, regret, and fear. Life will be what it was always meant to be.
You will learn to sing like Susan Boyle, or dance like a prima ballerina, if that is what you want.
You will train to climb that mountain, or write that book, if it sounds enjoyable.
You will laugh uproariously with that loved one.
You will sit and read and discuss theology with Moses, Paul, and Jesus, if that sounds like fun.
You will ride horses on the beach and be able to read their thoughts while doing so. You will lay down with a lion and let his purring lull you to sleep.
Creation was made to be our playground; not our hell. And in the new heaven and new earth, it will become our playground again. Heaven will be like Susan Boyle, with each of us finally getting to do what we were made for.
You have looked over the seemingly bottomless canyon and have caught a glimpse of a distant meadow. Remember, we are eternal beings temporarily experiencing human existence.
The music industry only cares if you are ‘marketable’ and can make them money. Glad to see Susan stay far away from the Hollywood bloodsuckers.
Jeremy Myers says
Ironically, I was just flipping through a book and music catalog today, and noticed that Susan Boyle has a music album out…. I went and looked at Amazon, and she has several album’s out now… Susan Boyle on Amazon
Hopefully she stays true to her personality.
Haven’t commented in a while (been busy!). You know, it is funny how Susan Boyle was laughed at yet Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are so popular with the 12 year olds (talent….what is that???)
Jeremy Myers says
I know! I cannot believe the antics of those two only seem to make them more popular! What is our world coming to?
Hello Jeremy, I know you probably get tired of hearing this worry.(Unpardonable sin) I hear it can be common!:/ But honestly, i’m looking to hear you tell me how senseless this all really is for me to worry about.:))) I posted a few days back….down below. I’m all ears! THANK YOU!
Jeremy Myers says
Just read your comment now. I will reply below.
okay i’m here…omg thank you!
Hello Jeremy. Um, well my name is Robin albright. I hope you can get back to me not sure i did this right, but i read your book over the summer. The Unforgivable sin. I guess that’s just it. It just sounds so scary. And that’s probably why i am haunted day after day with this craziness. I feel like it is slowing my life down or stealing my life in a sense. I’m a 34 yr old mama of four. Ages 11 and down. 2 boys and 2 girls. Happily married and am a christian. (i think) I believe Jesus died for all our sins. But i am stuck. I don’t feel like my salvation is secure. I hope i can get some feedback from contacting you this way. Wow! I sit here on my bed tonight typing this. I’d rather be doing something else, really. But i’m haunted by the thought daily that i have accidentally committed this sin or something and maybe there is just no possible turning back for me. Would God even do that?! Why am i going through this for more than 3 years now? My sister showed a verse in the bible right before i was going out with friends when i was around 15. She looked scared. So i was feeding off of her body language. I said oh thanks for showing me that tam. Tammy is nine years older than me and has schizophrenia. She was everything to me growing up then she became mentally ill. Runs on my moms side. i was freaked but had to go. Then that seed that was rooted so long ago in me has sprouted in my life now. It seems i’ve let much of this happen. i over think it. I can’t keep living like this. I feel when i pray i’m just cut off of the line of communication with him. And verses that say he’ll never forsake me makes me think….”yeah, only if you haven’t committed the unpardonable sin.” it’s nuts. i know. i thought “what if jesus is demon pocessed.” i was driving and thought that. it just popped in. i hate that i thought that. but it makes me think i have committed it because of what he told the pharisees about saying that. i had doubts in my twenties..so i thought a lot of weird things. always just searching though. maybe this is too long for a comment. email@example.com
I share in your feeling of being “cut off of the line of communication with [H]im.” I really do feel it when I pray…as if I am alone in a conversation. I feel it every day when depression consumes me. It really makes me question things.
Thankyou so much for your reply…..I really want to say that i don’t think your cut off. And i don’t want to think that i am either. I just feel very stuck with this still. It has been over 3 yrs that i feared what Jesus spoke in Matthew and in Mark. The fear turned into a deep-rooted rut for me. Take care tonight.:)
I’ve heard it said that sometimes the greatest battle for our soul is not the war going on between angels and demons; it is the war going on in between our ears. I use to feel very much the same way as you have described above, until I understood that my old self is still very much with me even though my spirit has been made new in Christ. Don’t be shocked when your mind whispers things, or when stuff just pops in that you don’t like, it’s just your flesh, but instead continue to trust not those thoughts of the flesh, but what God says in His word. Don’t doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts, instead trust that the reason you are feeling so concerned is that you identify more with what the Spirit of God tells you than with what your flesh through your mind might be telling you. It can be scary to know that one of our greatest enemies is so close, our old nature. But I encourage you to keep feeding your faith and starve your fears. Remember, Christ died at the place of the scull! He has come to redeem our minds, and give us victory over our old nature.
I will print this. These words are food for my mind and soul…..
Jeremy Myers says
I echo the words of Denise and Mark. Sorry it took several days to get back to you. I can usually only reply to comments once every week or two…
I think I would say similar things to what both Denise and Mark said. While our thoughts can be a blessing, they can also cause problems since we live in sin-filled bodied and sin-filled minds. As a result, we cannot always trust our thoughts or our feelings. You don’t need be afraid of your thoughts though. Even the bad ones. They come. They go. But they cannot separate us from the love of God. Nothing can separate us from His love; not even our own thoughts.
But thankfully, we can always trust Jesus and what God has said in Scripture. God says He will never leave you nor forsake you. God says He will always love you and forgive you. Always. Jesus loves you so much, He went to the cross for you. If He loves you that much, there is absolutely nothing you can say or do which will make Him change His mind or love you less.
It sounds like you have been living with this fear for a while. But when it comes back, just try to remember what you KNOW to be true from Scripture, that Jesus loves you, forgives you, died for you, and will never let you go because you have eternal life through Him.
I can’t express how grateful i am to hear you say these things to me right now. I’m sorry i know you are busy and you have a family. So do i. I am crying right now because yes i have gone through this for way too long. I want my life back and my hope back. I want to just know he is there smiling at me every waking moment. I don’t even want to talk to my husband with this issue anymore because i don’t want to worry him. I was worried you thought maybe what i thought was too far gone. I am a sensible person who people do look up to i feel and no one really knows about this though. I have been so.stuck.
Here just one more problem. And thank you jeremy, really. But why is speaking it so different from thinking it? I read something you wrote earlier today about speaking what i actually thought.
Jeremy Myers says
I am not sure what I wrote. Sorry, I do not recall. But regardless, there is no real difference between thinking something or saying it… at least, not from God’s perspective because He knows our thoughts.
But either way, whether we say something hurtful about God, He still loves us. There is nothing you can say which He has not heard before.
Try to rest in his love, and thank Him that He still loves you, even when you say (or think) hurtful things about Him. Ultimately, the one things he desires from you is honesty. So if you are angry or upset at Him, tell him so. Don’t try to hide it.
Okay!!! So! Thanks for the reply. I have this to ask FLAT OUT. So i have been worried about absolutely nothing for the last 3 years? What you are saying is that there is absolutely NOTHING that ANY human being(believer or nonbeliever) can say out loud to separate themselves from God for eternity? IF they believe Jesus and want him for eternity they can have that … NO MATTER WHAT.(even after they have blasphemed.)
Jeremy Myers says
A straight question deserves a straight answer…. I say YES!
God’s love and forgiveness toward us knows no bounds. He loves us completely, infinitely, and without restriction. It is extravagant, outrageous grace which shocks all sense of propriety. God is shameless in His love for us, so that even when we say and do things that would chase off any human being, God sticks with us and by us.
Obviously, this is not a license to see how offensive we can be toward God, for when we finally begin to see how much He loves us, NO MATTER WHAT, it is only then that we begin to grow in our love for Him.
Jeremy, did you ever think what i thought?(what i wrote in my first post) or ever say those same words aloud?
Or know anyone???
I did say them aloud when i was just explaining this once. Wasn’t scared to say them aloud then, but now i’m being reminded daily of the words that i spoke aloud while just explaining what i thought……thank you for your help…..i appreciate every.single.word.
Ward Kelly says
Robin and Denise: I am sure Jeremy will be giving you a word far better than what I can but I will give you a word from my heart. Because we are emotional beings we sometimes allow those feelings to be manipulated by satan and his minions, we must not allow those feelings to get between us and our Saviors promises. John 10:29 says “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” When I start to hear those voices accusing me of not being in my Fathers hand, I have to go back to the promise of Jesus and ignore those voices of emotion. I will be praying for you both.
THank you so much for praying! Wow. Just to get some feed back on this is very refreshing. I am a healthy person. Running has been my main coping mechanism, to clean the slate from the stress this causes in my life. I am very functionable in my day to day routine. I JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON HERE WITH ME. Honestly these words help they do. But there is this brick wall up or something. Like a binding spirit maybe!??? IDK! I used to have so much FAith as a little girl and just felt him everywhere around me. It was so freeing to feel that way. I knew i was going to heaven when i died. I know he loved me and smiled down on me every time i looked up. It feels great to even be able to communicate this to people. I will not stop fighting until i have that back again.
Thank you for your kind and helpful words and your payers. It means a lot to me that you took the time to respond.
Jeremy Myers says
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the people on this blog! Ward, Denise, Mark, Robin, thank you all so much for the warm and loving interaction here, helping each other, encouraging each other, and praying for each other. This is church, even if we have never met each other! I wish I could invite you all over for Thanksgiving! I give thanks for each of you.
Terry Zeyen says
Well said Jeremy!