Surrounded by thousands of thrilled Filipinos last month, I sat in a seat in the front rows of the Arena at the Mall of Asia in Manilla applauding a first-ever, on-location concert by the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. The Choir had never before performed in the Philippines, and only once anywhere in Asia, forty years earlier in Japan. The palpable excitement at this historic performance was soul-stirring. The grateful audience leaned over the balconies with their arms extended to get closer to the performers. With tears in their eyes, they sang along when the Choir performed the songs they had carefully rehearsed in the local language, Tagalog. The locals clapped so loudly the applause made my ears ring. It was all glorious.

That grandness was never to be forgotten. Also never to be forgotten for me was a personal, provocative experience I had that was similarly grand in import, but small and intimate in size. Surrounded by all that noise and celebration, my eyes were drawn to the face of a single singer in the Choir – a fellow in the second row of the tenor section. I had never met that singer, but the sight of his face was so compelling to me that, even as I sought to focus my engaged gaze on the three-hundred-person Choir, I was drawn to the face of that single singer. I have since learned that his name is Kyle Woodruff. I had noticed him at rehearsals and performances before as he entered the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City assisted by the singer who sat at his side and his own white cane, but I hadn’t attended to his face the way my attention was captured by it on this occasion. It was as if Kyle’s face was illuminated by a high-wattage light bulb. He fully glowed.

I learned from Kyle’s wife who sat near me in the arena, that Kyle had been born prematurely. To keep that tiny baby alive, doctors had been obligated to give him large doses of oxygen. While the treatment saved Kyle’s life, it had severely damaged his optic nerve. Kyle had some vision for just three months, then his non-functioning eyes were replaced with artificial ones. He has been blind ever since. He lives a rich life as a husband, father, elementary school band and general music teacher, and member of the Tabernacle Choir, but he has no sight – at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Those who understand things that can’t be seen with physical eyes, however, might say he sees everything that really matters.

And he fairly radiates a light to those around him. As I watched him sing, I found myself entirely unable to resist smiling so enthusiastically that my cheek muscles hurt. His whole face was defined by an enormous, authentic, contagious smile that clearly came from the inside out. It was so genuine and compelling that his entire face smiled. He has not seen a smile since shortly after his birth, but he doesn’t need to duplicate the expression of anyone else or look into a mirror to produce a smiling face that is real, rich, and radiant.

There were enormous spotlights illuminating that grand arena, but the light that emanated from Kyle’s face had nothing to do with the professional lighting. It had everything to do with that smile, and with the light within that rejoicing disciple of Christ and the brilliance of his own soul. The light that shone in his countenance radiated straight from his luminous heart. He was clearly feeling light and joy; he was showing light and joy; he was sharing light and joy. I saw and felt it with and through him.

“And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received His image in your countenance?” (Alma 5:14). “Can ye look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenance?” (Alma 5:19). Light that shines from the inside out originates from the Spirit and reflects the very image of God. That brightness has nothing to do with any characteristics of facial features or color of eyes or skin. It has everything to do with purity of heart and receptiveness of spirit.

Light always trumps darkness. If there is a crack in the floor of a dark room with an illuminated basement beneath, the darkness doesn’t descend down through the crack to darken the basement below. Rather, the light from below presses tenaciously upwards through the crack and provides some light for the otherwise dark upstairs. There was no biological light in Kyle’s eyes, but the persistent light within his soul glowed in his whole face to illuminate the space beyond. I saw it and felt it. It was irresistible.

Minouche Shafik, the President of Columbia University, provocatively said, “In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they are about brains, but in the future, they will be about the heart.” The future is upon us. I’m convinced that the most important jobs to be done today and always are informed and propelled by the heart and by a goodness of soul. Light from within reflects a quality of heart that is now and forever invaluable and impressive in a world that has always been populated by fellow travelers who are seeking light and love.

Neuroscientists say that we remember things that are meaningful, surprising, emotional, or new. Admiring the sight of Kyle’s radiant smile and entire face ablaze with a compelling light that came from within his soul was an experience I will never forget. It is good to teach about light. It is better to hold up a light. It is best of all to be the light.

We have all known and been influenced by people who are sources of light. Their light has inevitably cheered our paths and brightened for us a more sure way forward. Those blessed people see the important things, show their knowing in person and performance, and share, with and without words, what they know and who they are.  The Savior is the ultimate, perfect source of all light. His brilliance is generous, dependable, joyful, and sure. As we respond to that brightest source of light, our own paths are illuminated, and we become a source of light for others. He said, “I am the light; I have set an example for you” (3 Nephi 18:16), and “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). His perfect, eternal light came from the inside out to brighten a joyful way forward for us all.