When we left the chapel on Thursday night, the Relief Society and Young Women filed out the south door, while I went out the north door with the other Primary leaders. As we walked toward the door, I heard the stake Primary president tell one of her friends how tired she was, since she was preparing for her second child to get married in as many months. She had a smile on her face and greeted us warmly by name, but she did look a little weary.
Immediately upon exiting the chapel, we picked up road maps and personalized driver’s licenses, got instructions from a road construction worker (in orange vest and hard hat) and walked around the whole building, filling out our maps. When we got to the Primary room, we met more “construction workers” (the stake Primary presidency), found our seats, and played a game where we had to move our paper-cut cards around the chalkboard, which had been decorated like a road. Each presenter had a visual component to her lesson. There were model cars all over the room, two handouts, a gift for each of the attendees, and a beautiful table decorated with hand-made road signs sticking out of the homemade cupcakes.
The message was uplifting and I felt like we might still have some important work to do in these last few months of our lame-duck Primary presidency. But when the meeting was over, I left feeling guilty. In addition to the president with her two weddings, I knew how busy every member of that presidency was. Earlier that day I’d seen one of the counselors, a mom of five and teacher at my kids’ school, with kids literally hanging off her. The other counselor has a big family and homeschools. The secretary also works and has kids and about a million volunteer projects.
I looked around the room and could see that hours of effort went into the food, the decorations, the activities, and the presentations. I’m talking LOTS of hours. And while the little road signs sticking out of the cupcakes were adorable, I would have been just as uplifted with just the old crocheted tablecloth and pot of fake daisies that have graced the front table in the Primary room ever since I moved in the ward.
I’m a minimalist, and I tend to judge with the eyes of a minimalist. I feel guilty when busy people make a fuss over me. But I also know people who love going big. My mom is one of them– why make one kind of cake when you can make three? Why use one tablecloth when two will add a little more dimension? But what I worry about is people who feel compelled to make a big fuss even though they don’t enjoy it.
Where do you fall? Are you a minimalist? Do you go big? If you do, how much is because you really love creating an experience and how much is classic Mormon guilt?