Thursday, April 16, 2009

I hope she's wrong - I'm afraid she's right

I'm sure I'm not the first dad this has ever happened to, but there are times when my now grown up children say and do things that take my breath away - most often in a good way.

My daughter blogs. Not as frequently as I do. And never on matters related to the fractious state of the Anglican Communion. Of late, her blogs have, naturally enough, have revolved around her new status as "an incubator" and the various reflections which impending motherhood provoke. I have included her on my blogroll - in a segregated "non-ecclesiastical links" section.

Today, I want you all to go over and read her latest post. She is the first commentator I have seen who rightly identifies why the Susan Boyle story is so inspiring, so poignant - yet so disturbing.

I'd avoided the story at first. I mean, I got the gist of it, but I hadn't bothered to go watch the video. Now that I've seen it, I'm mostly glad I did.

YouTube has disabled the embedding code, but here's the link. Go watch.

And watch all the eye-rolling at the beginning, the sneers, the very clear undertone of "how dare this unbeautiful, middle-aged, unemployed woman who's 'never been kissed' pretend that she has any talent - or indeed any redeeming qualities at all."

It is inspiring. The ugly duckling can sing. (I acknowledge the mangled metaphor of the swan who cannot.)

It took my brilliant daughter to articulate what it was about the story that made me queezy.
It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me feel bad, it gives me this weird uneasy feeling in my stomach as I try to figure out if this woman is aware that on some psychological level she's back in the high school locker room being befriended by the popular girls as a joke. If she knows that the kindness she is being shown will last only until some great final act of humiliation is reached, or until her 15 minutes ends and she find herself alone once again with only her cat to sing to.

I don't know what it is about Susan Boyle and the media storm surrounding her that gives me a heavy feeling of foreboding in my chest, but I'd be willing to bet it has a lot to do with the little person growing inside of me, the kind of world s/he is about to enter, and my powerlessness to completely shield them from it.

I hope my daughter is wrong. For her sake, and for the sake of the little heart growing inside her, I pray she's wrong.

But it rings too true.

Doesn't it?

So, where is the gospel in this?

Perhaps that God does not disregard the small things and the rejected things. God does not ignore the sparrow, nor the lily. God takes the ordinary to do the extraordinary; manger, water, bread, wine.

And perhaps that God knows in himself what it is to be disregarded. "He was despised. He was rejected. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

Susan Boyle is a beautiful and talented woman. She is beloved of the world for the moment. She is beloved of God for all eternity.

1 comment:

Country Parson said...

I read your daughter's blog post and agree with her in so many ways. In the days of radio it was, perhaps, a bit easier for people to be more fully appreciated for what they could commun -icate over the air without judgment of their looks. Maybe that's what allowed Kate Smith to become so popular even on early TV.