On Phillip Phillips and Imagining Our Future


“I wonder what’s waiting around the corner for each of us?”

By Stefanie Thomas | Twitter: @STsheloves

Pretty much every time I sit down to write a post for SheLoves Magazine, the same thoughts run through my head: Is it really okay to write about this topic that’s sprung up in my mind and heart? Many of our beloved readers come to this site to get something, to be fed. I owe it to them to write about important things, like social justice, or inspiring triumph-of-the-spirit stuff.

And yet.

My typing fingers bring me back to small stories about my family, or strangers on the sidewalk, or even my love of TV. When SheLoves reader Mikaela left this comment on one of my posts–”So you see, your story impacted me profoundly … all because of your love for TV”–my heart did a little happy dance. I was blessed to read what she’d shared, and I decided then and there to take it as a green light for musings of the less-than-world-changing variety.

So what am I inspired to write about today? I’d say “Drumroll, please,” but perhaps “Dim the lights, Kieran!” would be more fitting. (This is a hint. Some of you will get it.)

Phillip Phillips! (So nice they named him twice.)
If you tuned in for this season of American Idol, you know who I’m talking about. Right from his audition, it was clear that this one was something special. He had a great voice and put his own spin on some old favourites (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson). He came across as unique, authentic and grateful for the opportunity. The judges liked what they heard, and soon this small-town boy was on his way to Hollywood.

As much as I appreciated Phillip’s talent as he performed each week, I loved that he stayed true to himself. When guest stylist Tommy Hilfiger advised the Idol hopeful to stop wearing grey and coach Jimmy told him to stop hiding behind his guitar, Phil Phillips showed up for the next performance in full grey force, guitar in hand.

When the judges told him he needed a big moment, he came back with quiet songs that became his big moments.

It’s hard to believe that Phillip underwent eight surgeries for kidney problems over the course of the competition. Week after week, he showed up, sang songs he loved, and gave it his all.

I had a feeling my favourite would win, and I was right. Seconds after being announced the new American Idol, Phillip Phillips was asked to sing what the Idol team had chosen to be his coronation song–Home (co-written by Drew Pearson and Greg Holden). Not far into the song, Phillip got choked up and tried to sing through the tears. And then he stopped altogether, bowing his head. And then he left the stage, handed off his guitar, and bee-lined for his family in the audience’s front row.

By the time he’d found his way into his mom’s arms, I was a goner.

Here’s what I saw:

Passion–someone who worked hard to chase his dream.

Authenticity–someone who didn’t compromise to fit others’ ideas of what an “idol” should be.

Focus–someone who fought through physical pain to keep his eyes fixed on his goal.

Love–someone who treasured his family and held them close.

Joy–someone who had fun doing what he loved.

Gratitude–someone trying to absorb that millions of people had voted for him.

Every step of the way, Phillip Phillips had been himself, and every step of the way, America had answered “Yes.”

Life Before

I saw a clip of Phil Phillips performing a little more than a year ago at what looked like a county fair. His audience was just a handful of people sitting on the grass, and I couldn’t help but think, “Dude, you have no idea what’s to come.” I imagined a blurry line speeding forward from that moment to arrive at the outline of two footprints, centre-stage. “This is what’s waiting for you. Your dreams and your effort will intersect with an opportunity and land you here.”

I’ve had Home on repeat for the past few days. Not just because I love the sound of it, and not just because I’ve been rooting for its adorable singer for the past few months. No, what really gets me about this song is that when I listen to it, I imagine it’s what God might say if God were to serenade us:

Hold on to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road.

And although this wave is stringing us along,

Just know you’re not alone

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home


Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear.


The trouble it might drag you down,

If you get lost you can always be found.

Just know you’re not alone

‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home.

I wonder what’s waiting around the corner for each of us? Where will our speeding, blurry lines lead? What would our ready-and-waiting footprint outlines have us doing, or being?

I love the idea that maybe, just maybe, God is smiling over us and thinking, “You have no idea what’s to come.”


About Stefanie:

Stefanie is a Registered Clinical Counsellor living in Vancouver, BC. She feels blessed to work in a helping profession and is grateful that her work requires her to show up not in a power suit but with listening ears and a compassionate heart. Stefanie enjoys spending time with family and friends and has never met a kid or baby she doesn’t like. She is a noticer and appreciator of birds (chickadees, herons, eagles) and many a beach rock has come home in her pocket. Stefanie is a lover of music, tv and movies, and she is gifted at absorbing and retaining useless pop culture trivia. She loves walking, fresh air, the smell of dirt, and anything of the salt and vinegar persuasion. She can often be found puttering.