I think that I’m an addict! I have this problem and sometimes I wonder if is working to my detriment! I get consumed by it at times and have to be very disciplined to say “enough” … get outside now or go do something productive. You see, it’s like this …
Instead of sitting watching all the mindless television on offer (why is it that there are more and more channels available with less and less programmes worth watching?), I either opt for a good book (I’m on the very end of the Outlander series so Diana Gabaldon better get her act together and publish the ninth book in the series as promised this year or a lot of we avid fans across the world are NOT going to be happy!), or I turn off the ‘idiot box’ (as one of my old Uni lecturers was want to call the TV) and opt for a little mindless entertainment via YouTube.
And here I sit, absorbed. My weakness is the ‘best of’, the ‘you won’t believe this’, the ‘judges were astonished’ highlights of so many of the televised talent quests from around the world. I get totally absorbed with the amazing array of artists from across the globe who so gallantly put all on the line to audition for shows like ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, international seasons of ‘The Voice’ and other such amateur-cum-semi-professional talent shows, their great hope being to be discovered and make the ‘big time’.
While I sometimes cringe over those who actually do think that they can entertain on some level and audition ‘just for the laugh’ (when they really should have stayed home on the lounge), more often than not I’m totally mesmerised. There is so much talent in the world, and so often it’s hidden behind an awkward stance, trembling hands and a ‘look’ that is far from what we commonly regard as ‘star quality’. It’s when the judges – and to a large extent, the audience – on these shows immediately demonstrate a dismissive reaction and then are totally shocked when the artist starts to perform that I think “Ha … that will serve you right for immediately embracing the wrong first impression, for making assumptions and being so flippant before you know that true character, talent and story of the human being standing before you!” Just think of the likes of Susan Boyle and the assumptions made about her and her appearance … before she opened her mouth!
There’s a lesson in this for all of us is there not? We are all so quick to judge others by the way they look and so fast to dismiss them based on what we presume. I know it’s hard to often see beyond the exterior but really it is a call to arms to be more understanding, more compassionate, to listen and be more loving. Maybe it’s a challenge to always look first for that ‘God spark’ in our fellow man and not be ultimately as cruel and hard of heart as we all can so often be. Do we want to be treated harshly ourselves? No! So why is it so easy to jump to the negative and not see the positive and give others a chance? Hum … I know I have to work on this one myself. It’s like the daily exercise I have to do on my bike to maintain health and mobility … I have got to darn well do the same to create a right spirit when it comes to others and it takes practice and continual checking of one’s heart and mind, but it can be done. It’s all about discipline and training.
But, I digress! Back to my fixation with YouTube talent show highlights.
I’ve really had to think hard and fast about why it is so easy to get lost in the world of these talent quests and all the brave folk who front up in the pursuit of stardom, and the huge risk of public ridicule in the process. Yes it’s great to acknowledge and share in the God-given, time-and-effort honed skills and talents of those who clearly are of a professional standard. But I’m more excited by those who comes from a different background and walk of life. Those who have battled and overcome; who have never been given the opportunities with which others have been blessed; who have a story of bravery or heart-ache to share. These are the artists who really touch me deeply as I sit here, tears rolling down my face, rejoicing in the opportunity the show has given them to finally be ‘heard’.
For me it’s all about the resilience of the human spirit and the affirmation that each of us needs and deserves; the acknowledgement that we each have a story to tell and something wonderful to contribute and share. It’s giving credit and kudos to these dear folks – albeit in such a public forum – that really speaks to me. For the same reason once these programmes start and the elimination process begins, I can no longer watch as the same fragile souls who started out on the journey are ultimately picked off one by one in the quest to discover ‘the best … the winner’. In the collective mind, not getting through to the end of the competition equates to being a ‘losers’ and I always wonder – given the delicate emotional state and hardships faced by some of these contestants – how they cope thereafter, once the lights and cameras are turned off and they return to their normal lives. Enriched I pray, not despondent and more fragile and hurt than when they started out.
So I can only watch the start of such shows … the discovery, the affirmation, the sense of hope that’s ignited, the acknowledgement and the realisation by the individuals that they ‘have’ something special and unique. It’s sad to think that it takes such a talent show format for many to realise their unique abilities and ‘voice’ … we each should know deep within ourselves that we are special and unique, albeit with limitations, failings and flaws. But we ARE all special and talented in our own way, created and born with our own God-appointed gifts, abilities and skills that make each of us so very unique. On the other side of the coin I’ll admit that there are those who irrationally regard themselves as being gifted ‘beyond stardom’, these talent shows offering a dose of reality and the opportunity to embrace a little well-needed humility!
So I can see the benefits of such programmes and am not deluded by the pitfalls and dangers that they represent either. But above all this there is such a joy in seeing someone else celebrated and affirmed – and to listen to some darn-good voices and music along the way – that I rationalise my addiction and allow a little indulge every now and then to lift the spirits and provide distraction. And with that in mind, guess what I’m off to do?
Until next time xxx