Spirit Matters: Heeding messages from the heart

Ready for a walk down memory lane?

This week a couple of lines from “Heartlight,” by Neil Diamond have been playing in an endless loop in my head.

I haven’t heard the song in ages, but I have learned over time to pay attention to those things that seep into my inner ears or eyes and won’t leave until I listen or look.

“Turn on your heartlight

Let it shine wherever you go

Let it make a happy glow

For all the world to see ... "

Interestingly, when I looked up the lyrics, I discovered the song had been written about Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster film “E.T.” I did not know this before, and this little bit of trivia made the words’ meaning all the more poignant.

For anyone who has not seen “E.T.” … Anyone? Anyone? (bonus points if you know what 80s movie those two words come from) ... the little alien’s heart lights up when he is with his friend Elliot, who works to get the homesick E.T. back to his planet with his friends and family.

Turn on your heartlight

In the middle of a young boy’s dream

Don’t wake me up too soon

Gonna take a ride across the moon

You and me

And home’s the most excellent place of all

And I’ll be right here if you should call me.”

I don’t have to tell you Steven Spielberg is a genius in his field. And the premise upon which “E.T.” was created illustrates that.

Who can resist the genuine love that exists between a cute … sort of … alien with a tender heart and the sensitive siblings that care for him, and ultimately have not only to let him go, but help him leave?

Not me.

And not many others either, it appears. Moviegoers stood in lines for hours to buy tickets, and theaters across the nation were sold out for weeks upon the movie’s release.

I remember seeing “E.T.” for the first time at the Majestic Theater in Streator as a 10-year-old girl. Henry Thomas, who played Elliot, was right around my age. Drew Barrymore, as Elliot’s adorable 7-year-old sister Gertie, appealed to audience members everywhere, too. As an imaginative child, I could certainly relate to the fantastical storyline.

Just as it doesn’t take a genius to recognize Steven Spielberg as a movie-making genius, it doesn’t take a huge mental leap for me to find meaning in these phantom lyrics in my life, here and now.

By nature, I am heart-oriented in my approach to life. But that does not mean I don’t get stuck in my head and have to remind myself often to “phone home” to my heart and the One who made it, to relearn how to make my heart and mind play nicely together.

Like E.T., my heart is homesick for That for Which I was Made.

Maybe yours is too.

“Turn on your heartlight now

Turn on your heartlight now”

P.S. I apologize if, after reading this, Neil Diamond’s lyrics won’t leave you alone either. But who knows? Maybe that is what they are supposed to do.

  • SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines experiences common to the human spirit. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at jzblue33@yahoo.com to share how you engage your spirit in your life and community.