“You’re pretty Mama!” My toddler said enthusiastically the other day as I stood in the kitchen in my pj’s.
“And I’m shiny!” she added beaming.
“Yes, you are.”
It’s true that she is. She shines, despite often scraggly hair and peanut butter in her face from lunch, because there is beauty within, and it can’t help but emanate from her.
It is said that the light of the eye enlightens whole body….children see beauty because they are filled with it, and they are filled with it because they can see and appreciate it.
We adults often fall into the trap of thinking that maturity means seeing primarily the darkness in the world, but often this cynicism is merely a defence mechanism. Instead of being vulnerable and enthusiastic, we remain critical and detached. We retreat into ourselves instead of connecting with the world.
The great British writer G.K. Chesterton wrote that there were two falls of man: in the first, man lost innocence by recognizing good and evil, and in the second, more recent fall, he fell again by losing sight of goodness and only seeing the evil.
The truth is that the world contains both. That reality is made up of light and darkness. That the tiniest candle burns away the darkness with an assurance of hope.
We all need to kindle this little fire inside ourselves…”Carry your candle, into the darkness, carry your candle, light up the world,” sings Chris Rice.
My little one’s candle burns brightly and joyfully. She isn’t afraid to wear all sorts of finery because she is confident of her beauty. A star isn’t afraid to sparkle, and I don’t mean an egotistical movie star, but one in the sky, which can’t help but shine.
Like a star she shares her light, and it falls upon those she sees. Recently we were playing in the grass outside the community centre where her big sisters have an art class, and we could see a class of older women dancing through the open door.
“Look at the princesses, Mama! There’s Ariel!”
Given that they were mostly older short-haired Asian women of various shapes and sizes, this was a bit of a stretch, but a lovely one. That were dancing, and that was enough to make them royally beautiful in her eyes.
She isn’t afraid to be herself, and because she accepts herself as she is, she accepts others as they are as well. Isn’t this the meaning of unconditional love?
If more of us lived this kind of love, the world would be a more beautiful place…or rather, our hearts would be open to see all the hidden beauty that is already there.
So go out and sparkle: chances are others will shine in the glow of your reflection, too.