Music and the Spoken Word: Of blind spots and open hearts

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music and the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir is practicing social distancing. This will be given Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.

Anyone who has ever passed a driving test knows what a blind spot is. It’s that troublesome area just outside your field of vision that can make changing lanes dangerous. No matter how you adjust your mirrors, you can’t truly drive safely unless you’re aware of and account for your blind spot.

We all have another kind of blind spot. One that has nothing to do with driving, but it can be just as dangerous. And if we don’t account for it, we could seriously hurt ourselves and others. The truth is, when we look at life and at each other we don’t see the complete picture.

Unavoidably, biases and preconceptions form over the years and they can keep us from fully seeing, understanding and connecting with another. For example, when we see someone who looks different from us, what do we think? Do we make assumptions based on limited information?

So often we think we’re talking to each other, when we’re really talking past each other. We carry on monologues, not dialogues. We make judgments, not connections.

The good news is that even though we all have blind spots, we can all overcome them. As with driving, the first step is to acknowledge that blind spots exist. To stop assuming that we can see everything there is to see. We share life’s highway with many other drivers and no two are exactly alike. We all have been shaped by our history, background and experiences. To travel safely, we need to travel together.

Maybe the best way to check your blind spot is to reach out to someone who has a different view, who sees things you don’t, and then listen without judging. Recently, the leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a joint statement about racial harmony. Demonstrating that we see more clearly when we look together. They wrote, “unitedly we declare that the answers to racism, prejudice, discrimination and hate will not come from government or law enforcement alone. Solutions will come as we open our hearts to those whose lives are different than our own, as we work to build bonds of genuine friendship, and as we see each other as the brothers and sisters we are — for we are all children of a loving God.”

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.