Worship Sundays @ 8 AM - 9:30 AM - 11 AM

The Older I Get, The Less I Know

Rev. Doug Meyer gets personal as he shares his own blind spots that stunt his knowledge growth. He is learning humbly:

I spent the first half of my life gathering information. I learned all sorts of things, from the basics of life to career fundamentals to the challenges of relationships to what foods I should not eat late in the evening. Then one day I hit a tipping point (or a wall). I realized I did not know as much as I thought I knew. 

There is much more that I do not know than I know! Life is funny that way. One of the biggest things I have learned is that I operate daily with blind spots. 

 The phrase "blind spot" has a couple of definitions:

  • An area that one cannot see because of an obstruction.
  • An area where radio reception is weak or nonexistent.
  • A subject about which/whom one is markedly ignorant or prejudiced. 
I am curious about these "obstructions." I am pretty sure we all have them, right? My curiosity sparked me to explore this topic and myself a little deeper. I discovered my blind spots/obstructions are not as simple to identify as a big brick wall or steel column that may obstruct our view. They are much more subtle than that. 

Where do they come from? I have come to learn that when we lack information our brains make up stories to fill in the gaps. Often the stories are both erroneous and damaging. The stories we tell ourselves have power; power to change the world and power to hurt others. 

These stories sprout from seeds that are planted when we are very young…when we hear influential voices make pronouncements sort of like:

  • All Hispanic people are...
  • Black people don’t …
  • Girls need to …
  • Big boys don’t…
  • All Republicans should...
  • Democrats always… 
My "obstructions" or blind spots have been growing for 57 years. They are composed of complicated vines of assumptions, biases, prejudices, arrogance and ignorance.

I have been reading an interesting book by Dr. Brene Brown called Rising Strong. In her book she challenges us to name and disassemble the assumptions we make about each other and each situation, especially those charged with emotion. One of the tools she uses to help that process is a phrase that starts with the line, "The story I make up is..." 

Think about that for a moment. I wonder if you are as guilty of doing that as I am? 

The other day I went to my local grocery store, and my "blind spot" revealed itself  when I went to check out. The person in line in front of me at the grocery store was slow and had questions about many of the items he was buying. I tapped my foot impatiently. I could not believe he was so slow! 

I grumbled to myself, "Why in the world did I pick this line?" I made up a story…he should know better, he should come to the store better prepared. When it was time to pay he didn’t seem to understand the card swipe systems or the preferred customer discount or even the choice of paper or plastic. Finally he was done. 

The cashier could tell I was agitated. She apologized and proceeded to explain he is a special needs student from the local high school and is a part of class that comes to the store once a week to learn how to grocery shop for themselves.

I felt horrible and small.

They might as well have announced over the loud speaker that I had just received the jerk of the day award! Friends – join me in learning everything you can about the neighbors we are called to love. Do your best to not create stories to fill in for your own ignorance and prejudices. 

 I appreciate it when:

  • People are patient and understanding with me.
  • People do not make assumptions about my ability or lack thereof. 
Seems to me the least I can do is honor my brothers and sisters in this world by extending to them the same level of care and compassion.

What do you think? 

"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all  your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31