[an occasional series of essays about life, spirit, and the music that makes up the soundtrack of my life]
Bright eyes, burning like fire.
Bright eyes, how can you close and fail?
How can the light that burned so brightly
Suddenly burn so pale?
–Mike Batt, recorded by Art Garfunkel
Not long ago on an oldies station, I once again heard this beautiful ballad, which was originally written by British songwriter Mike Batt and recorded by Art Garfunkel for the 1978 animated movie, “Watership Down,” the movie that taught us all how incredibly brutal cute little bunny rabbits can be to each other. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go rent the movie or, better yet, go read Richard Adams’ novel upon which the movie was based. Good stuff. Not really for kids.
Anyway…short story very long…the song just got me thinking about what it means to be kind and supportive to one another (unlike the bunnies) and how important it is to have bright eyes. Follow me…
Novelist Toni Morrison (“Beloved,” “Song of Solomon,” “Jazz”) was once asked how she became a great writer. She responded, “I am a great writer because when I was a little girl and walked into a room where my father was sitting, his eyes would light up. That is why I am a great writer.”
Are you with me? People become great—they have the confidence to do great things—because they know they are loved and accepted by the people that mean the most to them. We can see it in their eyes. What a great lesson in parenting and friendship.
There is perhaps no greater gift that we can give our children and our friends than our attention and our joy at seeing them and relishing in their dreams and achievements. They need to see our eyes sparkle when they enter a room. We enable and encourage others to seek after greatness by letting them know that we believe they can accomplish whatever it is they hold to be important. Never underestimate the power you possess to help others by just valuing them.
So smile at someone you love and cherish today. Let them know by your words and your bright eyes that you honor and value them. Ask them about their life, their dreams, and their plans for the future. Let them talk. Don’t talk about yourself (I always need to remember that…) And smile — bright-eyed and burning like fire. There’s just not enough of that going around.