I love Youtube! A lot of the stuff there is junk, but once in a while, I would see something that’s funny and makes my day lighter, or, in this case, is so inspiring that it stirs up my soul, and changes me forever. This past week, I saw two such videos. The first one is of Susan Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent 2009, and the second is an interview with Hazel McCallion, the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.
[Note: Apparently embedding has been disabled for the Susan Boyle video. Click here to go directly to Youtube to view the video.]
Watching Susan Boyle performed on Britain’s Got Talent made me cry, because like Susan, I’ve enjoyed singing since I was a little girl, and had dreamed of singing professionally. Of all the things I’d ever done in life, I feel most fulfilled when I sing. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like something in my spirit comes alive, and I feel like that’s what I was born to do. It’s what brings me joy!
Like all children growing up, I would have different fantasies of what I’d like to do when I grow up. Some were quickly set aside (like the dream of becoming a race car driver or gymnast–I found out quite early in life that I’m no athlete! LOL!), but the desire to sing has always remained deep in my heart. But, other than singing in churches and winning a couple of contests in grade school, I never had the opportunity to make a career of singing. As I got older and had a family (and my singing repertoire was reduced to singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and Brahms Lullaby) the dream of a singing career just became more and more impossible.
I admire Susan’s tenacity and courage. It takes a lot of guts to go on this show where they expect only the young and beautiful to perform, and they openly sneered at her when she said she wanted to be a professional singer. How delightful it was to see the faces of the judges and the people in the audience turned from cynicism and skepticism into total astonishment. I will never tire of seeing that video over and over again!
Given my current life situation, I doubt I’d be going on the road to pursue my dream anytime soon, but I now have a motivation to give my vocal chord an exercise now and then, because I never know when that opportunity will come! And what if the opportunity comes as much as 15 to 20 years later? Well, that’s when the inspiration from Hazel McCallion will come in handy! At the time of this interview, Hazel was 88 and she’s been a mayor of Mississauga for 31 years. That means she didn’t become a mayor till she was 57. That’s still over 10 years into the future for me! If I live to be as old as Hazel, I still have 42 years left ahead of me from today. That’s many years to accomplish something! So, like Hazel, as long as I have my health, I will keep on dreaming my dream and living life to the fullest!
Thinking along this line reminds me of Grandma Moses who didn’t start painting till she was in her 70’s, after having to give up embroidery due to arthritis, and in the last 3 decades of her life, had a successful career as an artist. Corrie Ten Boom, whose life became well-known through the movie The Hiding Place, was well beyond middle-aged at the time. And I’m sure I’ll find many more examples if I search the Internet, of people who did not let their age keep them from pursuing their dreams or living life to the fullest.
The things that I enjoy doing–singing, writing, photography–are all things that one can do at just about any age. As long as I have good health, there is no reason why I cannot keep pursuing my dream. I’m not able to do much at this time while I’m raising a family, but I sure will be ready when I am finally free to go!
To dream the impossible dream. . .
This is my quest. . . to follow the star. . . no matter how hopeless. . . no matter how far. . . to reach the unreachable star!
Having sung in a choir since I could hold a tune at about 3 years old, I have sung many great hymns and celebratory songs of Easter, but there is one that has a special meaning to me more than any other. It was possibly one of the first hymns I learned to sing, and I still remember singing it to myself all the time as a child (those were lonely times back in boarding school). But, there was a period of time in my youth when it faded away in the background as I went about searching for my own place in this world and to find, in all the wrong places, the healing for the pain within me. Long story short, just like the prodigal son returning home, my search had ended at the place I started, with Jesus Christ, and the words of this song became a reality in my life as I experienced the mercy and kindness that I did not feel I deserved.
As I grow older with each passing Easter, this song has meant more and more to me as I experience each day the words that Alfred H. Ackley, the song’s author, wrote back in 1933. The song is called “He Lives,” and also referred to by “I Serve A Risen Savior,” and it goes like this:
I serve a risen Savior, He’s in this world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hands of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today;
He walks with me and talks with me, along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart;
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!
In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho’ my heart grows weary, I never will despair.
I know that He is leading thro’ all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing will come at last.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christians, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal halelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.
Yes, Jesus really lives within my heart! Each day, He’s working to change me to be more like Him, to see things through His eyes, to love others as He loves, to see beauty in people and situation where I once could not see. He hadn’t just died on the cross, rose again, and was gone. He is with me today, living in me, always present to teach, to comfort, to guide, to heal, or just to hang out and share a few laughs! And all this is possible because of His sacrifice on the cross to cure me of my sin-sick heart. Because of this miraculous healing, I can have a relationship with Him more intimate than any other relationships. This thought reminds me of another hymn, In The Garden, by C. Austin Miles, 1912. The best part for me is the chorus:
And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.
I cannot imagine a life without Jesus. As one who once attempted suicide back in 1984, believe me when I say that Jesus makes life worth living!