Earlier today, I watched (again) Susan Boyle’s audition for Britain’s Got Talent. If you’ve got a spare 7 minutes and 3 seconds, feel free to watch it (you don’t need to watch the whole thing to get the general gist).
It wasn’t simply an idle way to fill time, I was musing over what people see. If you don’t have time to watch it, here’s a précis…
47 year-old lady with slightly erratic hair and slightly eccentric manner takes to the stage. She’s questioned by Simon Cowell (judge chap) and when she shares her ‘dream’ (“I’m trying to be a professional singer”) we cut to a member of the audience making an ‘as-if’ sort of face (1:20). What did she see? Piers Morgan (another judge chap) asks what she’s going to sing. ‘I dreamed a dream from Les Miserables’ is her response. And Piers’ response is as dubious as the audience member we’ve just panned to (1:37). What did he see?
And then we have it. Kabblammo. She starts singing (you could always watch for 20 seconds from 1:50 if you’ve not watched any of it). And she’s a surprise. The faces of the three judges and Ant and Dec, the presenters, are quite a picture. They hadn’t seen it coming. “Yous didn’t expect that, did you, did you? No” exclaims Ant.
What do we see when we see people?
Because even my little précis at the top there is about what I see. The hair, the clothes, the manner. The approach, the eyebrows. And often we don’t just see it, do we? We take it a step further and draw all sorts of conclusions. Now, I suppose you could argue that this is a useful ability – if a guy with a crazy look in his eyes and an axe in his hand came running towards you, perhaps you need to be able to discern his intentions. But that scenario is mercifully rare.
Susan Boyle walked onto stage drenched in promise. But none of us saw it. Piers called it “the biggest surprise I have had in three years of the show”, while Amanda Holden says, “I honestly think that we were all being very cynical and I think that’s the biggest wake-up call ever”.
I think perhaps I need a wake-up call.
Can you imagine God’s view? Present at every single birth since the beginning of time. Every newborn saturated in promise. Every life started in His gaze. So many beginnings soaked in hope. When we meet people, is that what we see? God’s knowledge of each one is complete, and His love for us is unwavering. When I see or discover something about someone that I don’t much like, how do I respond? I think often I need to be more careful about what it is I’m seeing when I look at people.
When I meet people, or even just look at them as they pass me by, what do I see? Is it anywhere near what God sees?
Over to you:
What are we in danger of missing?
Are there people who you haven’t really seen at all?
One last thought … if Susan Boyle hadn’t smashed out a cracking rendition of ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, what would we think of her then?