Thursday, June 28, 2007

The impossible dream...

If you read the title of this blog and heard music in your head, you're not alone. But it's a different song I'm singing these days. Life has been crazy both at work and at home, but I saw something last week that touched me deeply and inspired me a great deal.

I sometimes watch America's Got Talent, but had never seen the British version before. Somehow, I found a video of the winner of Britain's Got Talent, Mr. Paul Potts. Potts is an unassuming man; a bit large of build and quite humble. He took the stage with the confidence of someone who has known ridicule. He stated that he was a cell phone salesman and sang opera. The judges were as disbelieving as I and the rest of the audience were. If you watch any reality shows you know that when they give you background on a contestant it can only mean one of two things: great talent or a complete absence of talent. I hoped that Mr. Potts would do well and not be destroyed by the judges.

And then the most amazing thing happened. This average man opened his mouth, and the most amazingly beautiful tones emerged. He sang Nessun Dorma, my favorite opera piece (not that there are many to compete with it). Within seconds my eyes welled with tears, and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. There was just something about that voice and the soulful eyes of the man who sang. He looks like someone who knows pain. The crowd adored him, yet he looked as if he expected a rebuke from the judges. They also loved him.

In later rounds of the competition, Potts revealed that he had been bullied as a child. His voice was his best friend and comfort. He was in debt due to medical problems, and very nearly didn't even audition. Luckily for us all, his wife encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Click here to see his first appearance.

I'm sure that you have figured out that I am more than a bit sentimental by nature. I can be sarcastic and doubtful, but it is merely an act meant to protect the tender workings of my heart. And this man touched my heart. I wonder if I would have the courage to pursue my dreams in such a manner. So often it seems we all get bogged down in the day to day, that we forget to even dream, let alone pursue our dreams.

We are often martyrs. Unintentionally surrendering our dreams for the greater good, we think that our suffering will make things better. I'm not saying that self-denial is a bad thing. But maybe we need to be clear on just what the benefits will be.

I have been eyeing a sewing machine for a few months. I've wanted an upgrade for some time, and finally picked a good candidate. But did I buy it? Of course not! My 9 year old machine works fine. The buttonholer doesn't work, but the other 12 stitches are okay. The machine I want has over 60 stitches and many improved functions. It's not outrageously priced. But I cannot buy it. It's too much to be spent on just me. I tell myself that the money would be better spent on other things for the family.

The only problem is, I couldn't show you what we did instead. I can tell you that instead of spending money on a fence, we spent it on new french doors instead. The improved security and insulation are tremendous (especially since our old sliders were propped shut with a broomstick). I can tell you that instead of buying Mimi some flowers for Mother's Day, we paid our way into a state park and spent all day with the girls instead. But I practiced self-denial and have nothing to show for it, except the ability to say that I went without.

And so it seems to go with many dreams. I cannot tell you why I haven't tried harder to follow my dreams. I can only say that I haven't. I probably think that I have done this for the betterment of my family (i.e. in saving money or being around more), but wouldn't my family be better off with someone who isn't afraid to try?

And I imagine that a big part of the problem for many of us, is that we cannot clearly state what our dreams are anymore. I no longer dream of a career in pop music or of being an astronaut (two of my early career choices, though I also wanted to be a waitress). I tend to know what I don't want, but can't always say what I do.

My goodness! I certainly didn't mean to wax philosophical. Maybe it's the stormy weather or that fact that my father is quite ill, but either way I need to lighten up and dream a little dream of me.

1 comment:

adrienne said...


I once dreamed of being a ballerina or pumping gas at a full service station. It ended up that my heart connected greatly with a career path involving neither motor oil nor ballet slippers. I found immense fulfillment (with a periodic mix of frustration and catastrophe) doing a job that I never dreamed of in early life.

I love that you went to the state park instead of buying flowers or baubles.