"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
May 26, 2014
Listening to Your Personal Symphony
by Kathryn H. Kidd

I have friends who are mesmerized by music. If they are awake, music is running through their heads. Music plays over their computer speakers. It plays in their cars. They have little gizmos that play music in their showers. They have tiny ear buds that play music when they exercise.

Some of them specialize. They like ‘60s rock, or classical music, or country-western. Others listen to anything at all. I have a friend my age that I am absolutely certain can identify any song released in the past fifty years once he has heard the first bar or two. He is that attuned to music.

I cannot understand this attraction to music. I like to hear music in the temple. It is recorded music that comes from the chapel, which is far away from where I sit. The music comes in the form of wordless hymns. This music does not distract me.

Ever since Easter, Fluffy has been playing Handel’s Messiah in his office. (The first public performance of the oratorio was at Easter.) This, too, is far away from me. It is comforting music. It does not distract me either. How could Handel’s Messiah ever be a distraction?

Other music takes me away from the business of thinking. If I am playing computer games, I don’t need to think — but then I don’t remember to turn on music. Sometimes I find myself humming a favorite tune, but it doesn’t happen often. I guess you could say I do not have music in my soul.

I have other friends who are inspired by poetry. Some of them can keep it to themselves, but some of them are so excited by poetry that they are certain that I, too, would be inspired by poetry if only I read the poetry they liked or, worse, the poetry they wrote.

I assure you, I will not.

Poetry is worse than music. Music is fine, if it’s in another room, far enough away that I can hear it without it commanding me to pay attention to it. Poetry has to take up my full attention, and reading it keeps me from doing the things I would otherwise be doing. I do not ever read poetry of my own volition. Poetry does not sing to my soul.

Yet I fully trust the people who tell me poetry sings to them. God speaks to many people through poetry. Poetry is how they hear His voice. I would never deny anyone else of poetry. I just don’t appreciate it when they want to share their poetry with me.

The scriptures are a different story. I can listen to the scriptures over and over again. I have gotten to the point that I can quote passages of scripture before the narrator gets to them, although I am just as likely to be able to recite, “And thus they did encamp for the night,” as I am to be able to recite something that is actually going to help me in a moment of crisis.

God speaks to all of us through the scriptures, but there’s a catch here. We have to be acquainted with the scriptures in order for Him to speak to us through them.

God speaks to me in many ways, but one of them is an unusual one. He speaks to me through color. Color is my symphony. I am as much of an evangelist for color as others are of poetry or music. At least, I used to be an evangelist for color until I realized that people looked at me askance when I rhapsodized about one color or another.

When I am shopping online, the color of an item is probably more important than its other features. I would probably order an inferior product in a beautiful color than a much better product that was only available in a gray or beige.

Now I keep my passions to myself, for the most part. But seeing just the right color combination can almost bring me to tears of joy. Colors speak to me just as oratorios do to people who love music or great stanzas do to people who love poetry.

Isn’t life amazing? We are all the same and yet all unique. Even identical twins are not identical. We are all children of God, and yet we are all different in millions of remarkable ways.


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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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