“You never noticed? I’m beginning to think you’ve gone through your life with your eyes closed. Open them! Open them wide!”
– The Ghost of Christmas Past, A Christmas Carol
1984, starring George C. Scott
This is really just a passing quote in this movie. As the Ghost is taking Ebeneezer Scrooge on a tour of his past, it mentions how his nephew, Fred Hollywell, bears a strong resemblance to his sister. Scrooge dismisses the comment, that he never noticed, to which the Ghost responds with this above comment.
It should be nothing at all, yet I find tremendous value in the simple admonition to open our eyes, wide, and truly see the world we are passing through on this journey called Life.
So much of what we think we know is based simply on what we see, and often what we see is based on what we allow ourselves to see. It is no uncommon mistake for us to blind ourselves to what’s right in front of us. It could be deliberate, or subconscious, but for some reason we keep our eyes closed. All the more tragic, then, for everything we miss, and everything we do based on something false.
When the truth comes along, it can usually make for a very rude awakening.
For that, and for everything we would miss otherwise, it’s better to open our eyes on our own, and never close them. Better to see, to know, to feel everything about the world, both good and bad, than to blind ourselves.
Ignorance may be bliss, but it falls far short of joy.
Interestingly, towards the end of the movie, when Scrooge is again talking with his nephew, he looks at him properly and says, “You’ll forgive me for saying this, but I see the shadow of my sister in your face. I loved your mother, Fred. For a time there, I forgot how much I loved her. Perhaps I chose to forget.”
He tried to forget the pain of his loss, and so shut his eyes to the joy right in front of him. Now his eyes are opened, and he is free to love his family, and be loved in return. His empty heart can at last be filled with light.
In that spirit, may we all go through life with our eyes wide open.