I am not a big fan of reality television. Most of what arrives in our homes is contrived or edited, so that the viewer sees the best or worst in the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Gordon Ramsey (Master Chef) and Jon Taffer (Bar Rescue) constantly yell at people in order to encourage them to produce the best meal or drink possible. Survivor, The Amazing Race and Big Brother exaggerate the amount of competition or cooperation that develops over a season. And I am so impressed by the singers on American Idol and The Voice, that I feel they are all winners.
With all that said, I watched the last audition episode of So You Think You Can Dance, one of the three reality shows I like. Those auditioning this year are fantastic. But there was one very special contestant. Her name is Phoebe Kochis. She is 19, and her specialty is jazz. Her flexibility was awesome, and some of the moves she did were breathtaking. She told the story of how she began dancing, almost at the same time she learned how to walk. This is what Phoebe said about her chance to be on So You Think You Can Dance: “I feel really happy when I dance, and I love to inspire people,” she said. “I worked really hard, and now I am here. It’s my dream come true.”
Did I mention that Phoebe has Down’s Syndrome? After her parents were informed about all the things Phoebe would be unable to do, they watched her audition with tears of joy flowing down their faces. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it to the next level, but Nigel Lithgow, the show’s founder and lead judge, invited Phoebe to take part in the next phase of the competition as his guest.
Wow. What an awesome way to celebrate Phoebe’s journey. Even though the competition hasn’t really begun, I think this will be my favorite moment for this season.
In my office, there are three pictures that help me stay centered each day. The words are: Believe, Faith and Pray. Each word is created from photographs of fence posts, building arches, windows and doorways. The pictures were a gift from a parishioner at Court Street United Methodist Church in Flint, where I had my first appointment.
Each day, those words inspire me to view the world, not with a cup that’s half empty or even half full. I am reminded of the words of the 23rd Psalm: Verse 5b “My cup runneth over”. I now know a person, named Phoebe, who embodies what it means to pray for what can happen, believe in what is possible, have faith in who you are. Let it be the same for all of us. And Amen.