In addition to celebrating the nations birthday in July, Utah also celebrates its roots with “Pioneer Day” or “the Days of ‘47” On the 24th of July Salt Lake holds its annual two hour parade in addition to the youth parade that takes place the week prior.
“The Days of ’47” parade is well attended. There’s several people who will actually camp overnight in order to get the perfect parade watching spots. I happen to believe that all of these people are crazy – yet at the same time I admire their enthusiasm. The parade is truly an awesome moment for them and I’m grateful for the enthusiasm. I really am. I’m also grateful that the parade is televised and I am able to watch it in my air conditioned home.
I am not a parade person – actually I am not a crowd person. I could handle the parade in Afton, Wyoming just fine. I don’t think the entire population of their small town matches the tremendous amount of people flooding the downtown streets of Salt Lake on the 24th. I am actually a lot more comfortable with the peon parades that are less than an hour than with a band, another float, another horse, another . . .
But I’m not opposed to a two – three hour parade. I just choose not to sit through it. Especially in the blaring sun. But that’s me. That’s MY personality. My sister-in-law, Sunny may have been one of those who camped out. She LOVED the parade – probably still does – though I don’t think she gets downtown as often as she did when she was single. My brother Patrick is less thrilled with the whole parade idea than I am – or at least he used to be.
I’m grateful for the diversity that makes us individuals.
There is no paid ministry within the LDS Church. Those who teach lessons or give talks are our peers from the same congregation. We don’t sit in a meeting listening to the same speaker week after week. There are a variety of speakers asked to speak on certain topics – often the same topic as the other assigned speakers. And while Joe may speak with vigor and vibrancy, Eric’s talk may be more subtle – or he may just read with no eye contact whatsoever. And maybe Eric is the only one who will actually get something out of his talk. But Eric has reached someone that perhaps Joe cannot.
Veronica may type all the quotes from her lesson to pass out to class members to guarantee participation while Dorothy just stumbles through her lesson and gets nervous about the amount of participation. Jade may do her lesson completely different from the other two and belt out the lesson without the microphone but have most of the sisters willing to eat her words.
I remember two neighbors who had come to visit my mom once a month. Jody was by the book: “this is the lesson, this is the outline, and this is the message that God wants us to learn.” Peggy seemed to “scan” the book. She would give her one or two line lesson from the title. Oh, she’d elaborate if more was wanted or needed – but her theory was: “you’ve had this lesson, you’ve given this lesson, and you know this lesson. Here is a quick reminder”
It’s a good thing really. Not everybody relates to all people. Not everybody absorbs the message the first time or the second time. Perhaps not even the fifth time. And then there’s those of us who may think, “Yea, yea. I ‘vet heard this message over a thousand times. I’ve got it.” But do we really have one’s perspective or “take” on it? And sometimes there are individuals that will say the words that we’ve already heard, but suddenly it takes on new meaning. It suddenly makes more sense. We may experience an “aha” moment – and it’s not because the message itself or even the words are new. It has been presented in a different light. A situation was given in which we can identify or appreciate.
I remember my own mother practicing her lessons over and over again. There are many times I know she felt inadequate about whatever calling she happened to have. I know she wasn’t always pleased with her lessons. She was constantly comparing herself to others who had been in her position. I don’t think she understood the diversity is needed until after she’d given one lesson in particular
Lily had been inactive for years. She returned on a day that my mom was the instructor. Mom kept things simple according to her own understanding. Lily thanked her for her lesson. Mom was taken aback. Her lessons weren’t anywhere near as powerful as when Peggy would present them. But it was mom’s simpleness and delivery that Lily needed. Peggy’s flowery words or method of presentation always seemed over Lily’s head. It’s true that Peggy may have reached more sisters than my mom – but there were some people who actually weren’t comfortable with Peggy’s deliverance. Diversity is needed in teaching because we are made up of a huge amount of diverse personalities.
Our current bishop is very soft spoken. He really does put a tremendous amount of thought into his talks and his words are of importance – but I don’t think his delivery always settles well with the entire congregation – especially if he is the last speaker of the meeting. My husband, on the other hand, can wake up the congregation. Most people like his enthusiasm and deliverance – but not everybody does. What one may have gotten out of the bishop’s talk may be missed in my husbands or vice-versa.
And then there are some people who are blessed and talented enough to learn from all talks and lessons. They don’t fall asleep. They don’t get bored. They are in tune with the Spirit (I fully admit that often I am not in tune) and then there are those of us that get much more out of the talk or lesson if we are entertained by deliverance (or at least not bored by it)
We all need the opportunity of presenting His message – even if it’s only for ourselves. Perhaps the individual that I need to reach is myself – and if someone else should make discoveries while I am talking or teaching – great. We need diversity. And just as with the parade – not every speaker or instructor is going to appeal to me – that doesn’t mean I can’t learn. I appreciate the diversity. I really do.