Susan Boyle became an overnight celebrity last week as ten of millions viewed a YouTube clip of her performance from the British talent show “Britain’s Got Talent.” Before she stepped on the stage, Boyle was just an unassuming, single 47-year-old women who looked–well–very ordinary. There was nothing from her outward appearance or demeanor that indicated that she had talent. In fact, the judges and audience actually snickered when she walked out on stage and introduced herself. Much like Paul Potts, the show’s 2007 winner, Boyle again reminded us that outward appearances are not everything.
Boyle had never pursued a singing career, instead opting to care for her widowed mother until her death two years ago. She lives in one of Scotland’s poorest areas, has never been kissed, and sang karaoke in a local pub and sing in a church choir. As one of her neighbors said, “She is often taunted by local kids. They think she’s an oddball, but she’s a simple soul with geniune warmth.”
I am reminded of one of my favorite children’s books, “You Are Special” by Max Lucado. Lucado’s tale centers on a characther named Punchinello and a world of wooden people. In this world, each wooden person is unique. Some are tall, thin and smooth. Others short, dumpy and rough. Each wooden person has a box of gold stars and a box of gray dots to give to other wooden people. The prettier and more talented wooden people end up wearing all of the gold stars. The less attractive and less talented people, like Punchinello, are given the gray dots to wear.
Punchinello meets his creator, Eli, who helps him understand his true identity. “Remember,” Eli tells him. “You are special because I made you. And I don’t make mistakes.” After hearing this, the gray dots no longer stick to Puncinello. Boyle’s life reminds us that there are always people who are quick to give us gray dots. They don’t understand what we have on the inside and they need a reminder that God doesn’t make junk.