This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.
This is a mythic story perfect for our times.
Once there was a woman of a certain age living in obscurity in what she called "a collection of villages" in Scotland – unemployed, volunteering at her Catholic church, visiting the elderly shut-ins each week, harboring a dream to be a professional singer worthy of London's finest stage.
Fueled by years of encouragement from her late mother, the woman gathered her courage and signed up to compete on a TV show called "Britain's Got Talent." She left the cottage where she lived with her 10-year-old cat named Pebbles and set off for the bright lights.
The heroine of this tale is the real-life Susan Boyle. On April 11, she faced three skeptical judges and audience members who sneered and rolled their eyes. Could a 47-year-old woman who is "happy the way I am: short and plump" possibly have a clue? She had no glamour. She wore a frumpy dress with dark hose. Her eyebrows needed a weed whacker. Out loud, she dared to profess her aspiration to become a chanteuse like Elaine Paige, known as the first lady of British musical theater. You had to wonder what she'd been smoking, but who could fathom her lighting anything beyond an Advent candle?
Then Susan Boyle opened her mouth, and in an instant, her voice changed everything. The judges' faces morphed from ridicule to wonderment to awe. The crowd cheered her. "I Dreamed a Dream," she sang, from "Les Misérables."
To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.