When I got called to teach in Young Women’s, I was determined not to make my lessons all cute. I was not going to craft-ify the Gospel, because the Gospel doesn’t need it and also I reject the assumption that as a woman I should craft.
And yet, here I find myself at Michaels the Saturday before my first lesson, staring at an 8-pack of decorative scissors thinking, I might actually use them though, if you think about it I might.
All I’d wanted was to hand out a gratitude quote. But then I thought how I wanted them to keep the quote, to really cherish it, and if I didn’t make it cute would they even care?! My 15-year-old self rolled her eyes and gave a gentle but firm, “yeah, no.” My 15-year-old self reminded me I still have crafty quotes from Young Women’s tucked into my own scriptures! And so I took her advice and headed to the most stressful store on earth.
I entered its coupon-flanked sliding doors determined to keep it simple. I told myself, I will buy cute paper to print on and that is it. But then they were out of Thanksgiving paper. November 15th and all the Thanksgiving stuff was sold out. A craftier woman would have foreseen this.
I cobbled together a Plan B: a pack of harvesty cardstock and an (on sale) round of orange ribbon to tie around them – simple enough. But then the doubt began to creep back in — was this even that cute? Was it adequately adorable to plant the word of God in twelve teenage hearts?
I commenced a dead-eyed wander about the warehouse - past rows of unpainted birdhouses, the chintzy wedding aisle, an entire section dedicated to stickers - paralyzed by moral dilemma.
On one hand, why deny 15 year old girls the simple joy of a cute quote? On the other, if I believe this to be the bread of life, need it be bejeweled? The truth is I am desperate for them to latch onto it, to find the God who helped me survive adolescence. But even then I can’t help wondering - would I have gotten so into church at so young an age if it hadn’t first been presented as cute? How long does it need to be cute before it could just be true?
I snap out my spiral in front of the decorative scissors and can’t not wonder whether they are an answered prayer. Are these just the finishing touch my beige cardstock needs? My 15-year-old self perks up, is like, “yes OMG they’re the cutest things ever you neeeed them!” And I go to grab them but stop. Because this is an 8-pack. Of decorative scissors. Who am I kidding? I turn away from the row and walk determinedly to checkout.
Back home I print the quotes, cut them, and go to tie the ribbon, but alas they won’t stick without being glued. I stay up until ten glue-gunning bows on cardstock, Scott on the couch next to me baffled but silent as he prepares his no-frills Old Testament lesson. I have tried to explain this to him enough to know I’ll never be able to.
When I finally hand out the quotes the next day, it happens: I am rewarded with that magic, that troubling word: “cuuuute!!”
And I smile back all adult-like, but internally me and my 15-year-old squeal.