Music and the Spoken Word: Our common bond

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. 27, 2020.

Several years ago, a team of rescuers helped an older couple evacuate their home after a hurricane. Their house, which the husband had helped build, was flooded. The wife had serious health problems that made their situation more perilous. And yet, they were smiling. One of the rescuers asked how they could stay positive in the midst of this difficult tragedy. The woman answered, “That storm can take my house, it can take my car, it can take my furniture and my pictures, but it can never take my spirit” (see “It’s Still OK to Laugh: How to Stay Optimistic during Difficult Times, According to Time 100 Leaders,” Time, April 27–May 4, 2020).

Few of us know what it’s like to lose our possessions in a hurricane. But we have all been sharing a difficult experience that we will never forget. During this COVID-19 pandemic, our courage and endurance are being tested. Some have lost loved ones or livelihood. All have been reminded that the future can be uncertain, even scary at times.

Sometimes it takes a difficult shared experience to teach us that possessions and position do not define us and should not separate us. Our inherent worth, who we really are inside, remains permanent, unchanging. The spirit, the soul, is eternal. And it’s what makes us all part of the same human family.

Speaking before the United Nations in 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, “Perhaps we need some outside universal threat to make us recognize (our) common bond.” He went on to suggest that if we faced such a global danger, “how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish” (see “Threats Are Ahead. National Security Can’t Look Backward,” by Samantha Power, Time, April 27–May 4, 2020).

Well, we’re facing that kind of threat. And we’re learning that with all the damage a virus can do, it need not damage our spirit. In fact, the opposite is happening. We’ve mourned together. We’ve struggled together. We’ve become more aware of the needs of people around us — along with things we can do to help. And somehow, we’ve found hope that things will get better and we can find joy in our new normal.

No, life’s tragedies can never take our spirit if we don’t allow it — instead, such tragedies can actually make us stronger.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, 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.