“Hey, you with the bright eyes.”
I’ve been called it since I can remember hearing sound. Whether it was from my mom lips surrounded by her billowing 80s hair or from my fathers mouth lifting me above his face with arms much slimmer than they are now, I was always “bright eyes.” If Elizabeth Taylor was special for her violet eyes, I was special for my gleaming ones. They are big and round, in baby pictures making me look as if I was permanently in wonder at the world. And even as my face filled out, that fact has remained somewhat true.
Lately, I’ve been reading William Trevors’ Selected Stories and I came across one in particular that has stayed with me in the past weeks. It is called “The Piano Tuner’s Wives” and it is about a woman who married a blind man whose wife had just passed away. The story begins with the lines:
“Violet married the piano tuner when he was a young man. Belle married him when he was old. There was a little more to it than that, because in choosing Violet to be his wife the piano tuner had rejected Belle, which was something everyone remembered when the second wedding was announced.”
Belle, the second wife, can never get over that label and it drives her to a state of questioning that drives her close to mad. Even though he cannot see, she is concerned she can’t do everything like the wife before. She doesn’t make the bed the way the old wife did. She doesn’t clean the way the old wife did. She wonders too, if he hates that she doesn’t dress like the old wife did.
Reading through the story, I found myself annoyed by her paranoia. That is, until I realized how often I am guilty of doing the same thing. While my bright eyes have been my one sure thing all my life, I often second-guess myself in the company of the blind. Even though I know that they are not meant to be proper judges of my actions, I let them stand in as dummied for my own critiques. Maybe it’s not good enough, maybe that’s not the best way to do it. I let blind piano tuners influence which way I turn when they are not given my vision.
We all do it, whether out of insecurity or because our faith in our destiny wavers. And it’s one thing to experience doubt, but it’s another to let it consume you. Remember, while blind men may be in your life, you are still their guide. Don’t let someone’s lack of vision cause you to veer you off your path.
Today, don’t be guided by blind doubt. Use your bright eyes and move forward to the purpose only you can see.