Two weeks ago, my husband took me to a Stevie Nicks and Billy Joel concert, which was absolutely amazing! Stevie and Billy Joel are 75 and 74, respectively, but their voices were just as strong as when they were in their 20s. I’m a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but the concert also reminded me of how much I love Billy Joel. The concert was at M&T Bank Stadium (outside) and at night, and despite it being the first weekend in October, it was frigid. Coat and gloves weather. I mention all of this to set the stage for the purpose of this posting.
Towards the concert’s end, Billy Joel graced us with his song, Piano Man. I mean, how could he NOT end his concert with this iconic song? As I looked around the stadium, I could see the lights from everyone’s camera phones, shining like beacons in the night, illuminating the stadium. It was a beautiful moment enhanced by the backdrop of everyone singing. . . Sing us a song, Mr. Piano Man; sing us a song tonight. . .
I decided to join in and turn the light on from my phone. However, I felt suddenly self-conscious because the folks in my row or section didn’t seem to be participating in this moment. After some hesitancy, I went ahead and shined my light. I wanted to reciprocate to the people across from me.
I then realized that the moment was an analogy for life. . . Sometimes, we are so self-conscious and uber-aware of the naysayers around us that we dim our light and don’t shine it. But when we do shine our light (being our authentic selves and embracing life with compassion) — even when it feels uncomfortable or pointless, we are actually making a difference.
You see, when you shine your light, you are giving others validation and permission to shine their light, and so they shine their light, which causes others to shine their light, and then more… it’s a ripple effect. Just like the display of lights that night at the concert.
As Billy Joel strummed on the piano, singing Piano Man, I watched a collection of singular lights come together. Together, those lights created a breathtaking sight–flickers of hope shining through the darkness of the night. One by one, phone lights were turned on. Sure, this is a common occurrence at music concerts. But, what would happen if everyone decided not to shine their light? A ripple effect always begins with just one person.