I have unashamedly lost count of the number of times I've watched Susan Boyle perform I Dreamed a Dream for 'Britain's Got Talent'. Apparently, I'm not the only one, last I checked her song has been collectively viewed over 90 million times on YouTube. For me, it's not because of her beautiful voice, though it is beautiful. Nor is it because of the contagious reaction of the crowd, though it is contagious. And nope, it's not even because I have nothing better to do with my time...OK that was a lie.
I think the reason I sense a magnetic pull between myself and her performance is because I strongly identify with the emotions expressed in the song. The message of the song (yes, heavy metal fans, music actually has words - they're called "lyrics"), coupled with her thoroughly brilliant performance resonates loudly with how we experience that thing known as, "life".
John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." That's how it feels sometimes isn't it? It's as if you take stock of your life and your thinking, what happened? It's not what you imagined. It's isn't what you had hoped it would be. You try, try again and then you get dealt a 3-7 offsuit. Or, you get what you want, but it fails to satisfy like you thought (or had been promised) it would. Day after day you pursue your dreams, only to find them forever escaping your grasp and replaced by dreams anew. You just want the chips to fall your way for a change. Is that too much to ask? You just want comfort, ease, and for all of your wildest (or even mildest) dreams to come true.
At the risk of coming across calculated and cold, may I say something as gently as possible to you (and myself)? The above mindset is utterly selfish. Really, it is. It's consumed with self. Like an obnoxious child completely focused on getting their own way, so too is the individual who exists for self, and self alone. Certainly, this song is a valid expression of legitimate emotions, which I have no problem with. However, taken to it's extreme, the mindset of self-pity due to lack of self-fulfillment will ultimately destroy you.
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? If you wish to save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it."
The song is a powerful one, and we identify with it's sentiment. The question is, what do we do with that sentiment? Do we take a dose of self-help and continue the all consuming fight for do ra ME? Or do we submit our lives, and will, to the One who offers us redemption?
If you haven't already, you can check out Susan Boyle here.