I would say that a disproportionate percentage of the fun things you see on this blog happen on Sundays. Yes, we love Saturday brunch like nothing else, but most Saturday events have to be sandwhiched between lots of pesky responsibilities that leave little time for much else. This weekend for instance, we had a fun-packed weekend of taking friends to the airport Friday night, followed by studying for me and work for James. On Saturday I camped out at Starbucks to write papers while James worked at home. I managed to watched the Derby on a small corner of my computer while typing away on the other half of the screen. We ate dinner at home and then in a truly wild outing, I did grocery shopping at 10 at night to avoid the crowds. Bliss.
But then Sunday comes.
Growing up, we weren’t allowed to do homework on Sunday, or go shopping, or go to the movies. This also meant we didn’t do chores, or mow the lawn, or whatever other thing my parents could devise for us. You might see this as religious legalism, or overbearing rules, but you know what it really is? Bliss. For one day of the week, life wasn’t about working and getting things done, but about enjoying all the things you already have. For one day of the week, life was about rest and family and worship and peace. One time I remember my dad telling me that the Sabbath was a shield God gave us against the stress of this world, but a shield only works if you hold it. I’m pretty sure that teaching us to keep the Sabbath was one of the most valuable lessons my parents gave us, one of the things that has had the greatest routine impact on my life.
Which is why, once I moved out and went to college, I chose to keep Sunday as a day free from work. Not to keep some list of rules, but because life is so much better when you have a Sabbath keeping it in check. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in grad school. When weeknights get stressful, when Saturdays are packed, when I struggle to make time for the things that really matter, Sundays come as a miracle every week. It isn’t easy, and involves a lot of planning ahead, time management, and dogged perseverance on Saturdays, but it is so, so, worth it.
Lately James and I have making our Sundays more intentional times to explore the city together. A couple weeks ago we made it up early enough for a pre-church breakfast date out and yesterday we headed to the National Gallery. They just opened an amazing exhibit on Andrew Wyeth, inspired by my favorite of his paintings. We wandered leisurely through the gallery before heading back out into the city to find some fro-yo. (For the record, I totally prefer old-fashioned ice cream to this crazy yogurt obsession, but Tangy Sweet is still pretty awesome.) On the walk back we sat on some benches for a while, quietly reflecting on some big things that are coming over the next couple weeks. I’m so glad I had this Sunday before heading back into the busy week.
I have nothing against work. I think we were made for work, were created to exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of good and useful things, were designed to feel tired at the end of the day and rise again the next to struggle for things. We were made for work. But we weren’t made just for work. We were also made for rest and laughter and taking time to enjoy the people we are blessed to love. Sundays remind us of that.