Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blessing Blackburn NYC ~ Installment 3

“Now to Him Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Wednesday, 12/30/09
11:10 am in Brooklyn, New York

Susan Boyle’s whirlwind visit to New York City during Thanksgiving week coincided with the release of her debut CD, I Dreamed A Dream. The captioned photos in Slideshow 3 tell the story of the exciting before-during-after progression of her first Susan-only live concert before huge numbers of fans. “I’ve always wanted to perform in front of a large audience.” Since her live televised performance on November 23, little more than a month has passed, and Susan’s own marvelous television program has aired in the UK and the USA, surrounded by several other televised appearances in various countries – including in Japan on New Year's Eve!

Meanwhile, Susan’s CD is racking up enormous sales records globally, all within the space of a mere month. One hesitates to report the milestones – golds, platinums, millions, this country, that country – because they become obsolete almost as soon as one hits the enter key. Susan herself celebrates back home in Blackburn. On any given day of her choosing, publicity is a snap – just open the front door, hoist a simple prop, and wait for the next global blog posts and press runs of a couple million. Her daily publicity machine does not require high-paid hairdressers, makeup artists and costumers – the beauty of Susan Boyle is that she is Susan Boyle.

Susan spent a traditional Christmas with family and friends in the Lothians in Scotland. Del and I spent Christmas a bit differently. Check the photos! We visited favorite holiday spots and lovely church services in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with time out on Christmas Eve for a bite to eat at the busy Rock Center Café in Rockefeller Plaza! Somehow, the hostess chose us ahead of another couple in line, and seated us at a rinkside window table that just happened to open up as we walked in. Dining right next to us were two people from Italy. They were so nice and friendly, and even used our camera to take our photo. I decided to ask if they had heard of Susan Boyle, and noted that she had sat right over there and had sung right out there. Yes, of course they had heard of her! Ilaria Dallatana and Francesco Facchinetti just happen to be the producer and on-air presenter of Italy’s X Factor! Oh, Simon! I predict an Italian invitation for Susan soon…

It was a joy to revisit the sites seen by our dear Blackburn/Bathgate friends Hugh and Mary, and the venues of Susan’s appearances. As one of the organizers of fan events in NYC (with many alphabetical thanks to Del, Diane, Jane, Marie, Marta and certainly not least Rhonda), I was happy to see Susan in various settings and to know that she deeply appreciates the warm welcomes that she has received here and elsewhere. She thrives on the genuine outpouring of love for her. I was so thankful to have my square included on the wonderful fan quilt (courtesy of Carol and Phyllis), and one of Del’s badges of Pebbles actually belongs to Susan now – spotted several times on her various coats and jackets both here and at home! It was so cute when she recognized the identical badge on Marie’s scarf and pointed to each of them!

My own NYC opportunity for a photo and a hug was truly unexpected – at the last minute someone asked me to hold the beautiful fan album made by Carolyn, which would be given to Susan during the amazing quilt presentation in the Rock Center Café. When the time came that Susan turned toward me, I leaned forward to say a short remark – and she hugged me. I didn’t even realize that her arm was around my shoulders until I saw photos and videos!

What I shared with Susan was this: “I just want to say that millions of people love you, and thousands of people are praying for you every day. God bless you!”

I am among the many who have been moved to pray for Susan since April. Since her visit to NYC, my daily prayer has been this prayer in the Bible, in Ephesians 3:14-21, with words for Susan specifically: “For this reason I kneel before You Father, from Whom Your whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen Susan with power through Your Spirit in her inner being, so that Christ may dwell in Susan’s heart through faith. And I pray that Susan, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that Susan may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to You Who are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to Your power that is at work within us, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

During Susan’s own television special, she sang an incredible duet with Elaine Paige. At the time, and in many views thereafter, I was struck by the words. They were characteristic of Susan’s frequent theme and life experience of elusive love and heartbreak on a human level – a message that speaks so poignantly to so many. Yet the Christmas and New Year season marking His birth is a perfect time to reflect on a love that is altogether transcendent and intimate, and stunningly utterly real. The nativity of Immanuel, God With Us, reveals the love of Jesus and how He wants to be tenderly close to you. A rewrite of the words that Susan sang could read like this: “He moved His world to be with you because the gap between was too wide – He wants to be with you constantly – He is completely on your side.”

You might say, “Why me – the wee wifey?” Or, “How could He – look at me!” Dear one, that is the beauty of His gift, received by faith – it all depends on His love and grace, not on your own ability to earn it. All fall short, so He gave all.

Can the Susan Boyle phenomenon be explained naturally? I believe that she is His beloved, fashioned by Him for this time, unforgettably reflecting His love and care in a heartsick world. We all need that kind of love, do we not?

“…To grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:18b-19a)