The story is the reaction

My father, wise sage that he is, commented that the Obama inauguration was in equal parts about the man and about the crowd. What his inspirational effect was, and the way he brought record numbers of people out in the cold to witness history. The way people respond to Obama is as much a part of his story as is the actual man.

I feel the same way about the wave of Susan Boyle blog posts, emails, and news commentary sweeping across the media right now. Clearly, Susan Boyle herself is an amazing story. But what strikes me, equally as much, is the way everyone – from the most soft-hearted friend to the most cynical journalist – is impressed, touched, moved to tears by that You Tube video.

It is a good reminder, in a moment so dark in so many ways, of the deep longing we all feel to be surprised by joy. In a time when so many surprises are bleak, when so much bad news seems to come out of the sky, when people let us down more than they inspire us, we all ache for the stunned, standing-ovation kind of amazement that Susan Boyle brought that British audience. I find it heartening to be reminded of this deep streak of optimism in people, of our joint ability and desire to be wowed.