Sunday, January 22, 2012
The Blind Man and the Bus: The Moral of the Story
If you did not read last Thursday's post, then the following will not make any sense. I recommend that you take two minutes and read the story and the comments. Here: http://middle-agedmormonman.blogspot.com/2012/01/story-in-search-of-moral.html
The comments were wonderful, full of insight that I had not considered. I was honestly impressed by the different approaches and thoughts that were offered. Since I said that I would declare a winner, I will - but keep in mind, there is no right answer.
Winner: Kathryn McGinnis, from the lovely state of Michigan. Kathryn had an insightful answer, but she also won because she is so quick. She had her comment up just a few minutes after I posted the story. So, congratulations Kathryn. I should also point our that Katie Richins, from Arizona, followed up quickly with that idea, and added some additional insights.
Here's what Kathryn said: That man knew where he was going because it was so familiar to him. Likewise, if we immerse ourselves in the gospel so that it becomes just as familiar to us, we will most definitely be able to find our way back to the presence of Heavenly Father, and even help others along who don't know the way so well.
Enough celebrating - now let's talk about this some more. Here are a few reasons I thought this was difficult, and why I chose Kathryn:
1) The story was really about the blind man reaching his destination. Because of that, I couldn't see him representing God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost. They are all the opposite of blind, and it wouldn't make sense that any one of them were searching to find their way home.
2) The story wasn't really about me and my EC - we were merely observers - and the story would have happened the same had we been there to witness it, or not.
3) If the conditions were reversed, and the blind man had vision, and was directing a blind driver, it would make the God/Holy Ghost parallels more applicable. It would also have made for a much more exciting story, fraught with danger!
4) I think you could make a good case that the blind man represented a prophet, or church leader, and the driver represented us. "How can an old man who lives in Salt Lake have any idea what I am going though? He doesn't know me, or my circumstances - how dare he give me directions?"
5) Finally, here are some thought I had last night as I was thinking about this:
We only got to see the blind man on the last leg of his journey. The bus driver had helped him, by following his directions and delivering him safely home - but he wasn't the only person who helped. Someone had helped this man get to the airport, check in, board the plane, find the correct seat, get from the plane to the shuttle, and a dozen more steps in between. All of those people provided a service to the blind man that he could not provide for himself.
After that idea dawned on me, I had two applications:
1) Each one of us who has a testimony of the gospel has a desire to return home. to our Heavenly Father. We are also equipped the the knowledge of what we need to do to get there. (Kathryn) That knowledge comes from a lifetime of study, prayer, obedience and faith. We know where we want to go, and what it takes to get there. We can describe it to others. We can also hang on to that knowledge when things get a dark. (Iron rod)
However, even with that knowledge and faith, and a firm grip on the iron rod, we are dependent on other people to assist us in attaining salvation. We are all aided by teachers helping us gain knowledge, priesthood holders performing the necessary ordinances, parents helping train our desires, and mostly, the Savior in provided the way to unlock the door, through the atonement. None of us can get home by ourselves. We are all dependent on others to do their part.
2) Lat thought: The blind man could also represent a person who died without the ordinances of the gospel, and is anxiously waiting in the spirit world. He is ready to prompt and open heart, and listening ear of someone on earth who is willing to perform those ordinances that he cannot do - ordinances that could let him return home.
Thank you all for playing along. I enjoyed this process - I hope you did too. If you did, let me know, and we'll do it again - I've got a million stories. (Next time, Crystal, I expect more out of you.)
Note: Jocelyn added some good thoughts about this story and the ideas that flowed from it in her blog today - check it out: We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ