Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Susan Boyle: Art, Truth, Insight, and Being Human

The majesty of art is in its power to open our minds to truths about the human condition--a phenomenon that has made Susan Boyle, a middle-aged unemployed Scotswoman, an overnight sensation. Many are moved to tears as they watch the YouTube video of Boyle winning over a skeptical audience, a crowd of eye-rolling cynics eager to laugh at her public humiliation. And then by the time she'd sung four notes, she'd won them over. In four notes, the audience relearned what they should never have forgotten, the transformative power of art. As she sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis, the lyrics touched me as I thought of our family's dream, which is also Todd's dream.

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.

The song ends

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...

Susan Boyle's performance, though, was not about a dream lost; rather, it was about a dream found. The irony is that had Boyle fumbled and fallen on stage, the response would have been laughter. But tears fell at the joy of seeing a dream realized, and from the sure knowledge that if Susan Boyle's dream could be realized, so could ours.

If you're not among the eight million plus who have watched Susan Boyle's performance, take a look at it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chilling. Thank you for the lyrics. Susan Boyle is a prime example of the kind of society we presently live in. The age of television and music videos have contributed to the call to judge on physical appearances. The voice of an angel must now have the body of an anorexic and a face constructed from cosmetic surgery. Outer 'beauty' has proven, for the most part, to be superficial in contrast to Susan's inner spiritual beauty. Her strength, courage and confidence is a lesson to everyone with a conscience, and to those who have a healthy dose of compassion.