I recently read a blog posting by Renee Trudeau where she wrote about weekends. Two things stuck out in my mind. The first was that she read a statistic that said Facebook experiences the highest volume of traffic on Sunday morning. She also wrote that “weekends should be primarily for rejuvenation and rest – not for getting stuff done.”
When I was a little girl growing up, the state of New Jersey had something called “blue laws”: which prohibited much general commerce. Most stores were closed on Sundays in observance of a day of worship or rest. You didn’t do a lot of shopping on Sundays… in fact, you didn’t do a lot of anything as I recall. It was almost a forced time of sabbath, and by that I mean a setting aside of a day as special for prayer and a period of rest. I remember Sundays as a time when family would come over for the regular Sunday dinner. We would gather together at my grandmother’s house, and Grandmom would use the good china, glasses and silverware for the sumptuous meal she would prepare for the family, and the visiting aunts, uncles and cousins. After the meal we would help clean up, then go and play and enjoy the day outside when it was warm enough. There were no video games, no texting... just enjoying the sunshine, making up games, board games when it rained, coloring, crafts and creativity.
Another thing I remember about Sundays was going to church. We would go to Sunday school, and then to worship service in the big sanctuary and we’d spend time before and after the service visiting with the other members – friends we saw during the week and folks we only saw at church on Sundays. I looked forward to the Sunday school where I would see my once-a-week friends; we’d listen to the Sunday school teacher and learn a Bible lesson, and usually do a craft and sing songs together and play. Even as I write this I smile and feel warm as the memories flow over me. Sundays, that time of sacred and restful sabbath, were special, a time set aside like no other day of the week.
Fast forward (and I do mean FAST forward) to 2013 to a world where technology rules, we are accessible by any/everyone 24/7/365 via cell phones, email and text messaging. Quiet, restful Sunday time has been replaced by the kids’ sports which are scheduled on Sunday mornings, running around playing catch-up with chores and activities you couldn’t finish on Saturday. Almost all stores are open early morning till far after dark to sell, sell, sell. We are not simply engrossed in the hustle and bustle of life – rather the day is full speed ahead at a frenetic pace leaving us frazzled, exhausted and frequently depressed. The new “blue law” is that by Sunday night, instead of feeling rested, relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated, we’re collapsing and miserable as we deal with the “where did the weekend go, I’m so tired and I don’t wanna go to work tomorrow” BLUES! We drop into bed far later than we should and wonder what has happened and how can we stop this vicious blur of a merry-go-round ride on steriods? No wonder Facebook sees such a surge on Sunday mornings – the caring community of worship and gathering of family and friends to share a meal and fellowship has been trampled and lost, and we’re left feeling lonely and empty.
However… there is hope. You have the power and the choice and the right to STOP AND SAY NO! Instead of conforming to the world’s insanity, instead become the instrument of transformation for you and your family and friends. You can bring back the sacredness of sabbath by setting aside Sundays (or Saturdays, if that is your given sabbath) and guarding those boundaries like a rabid pit bull. Reschedule your calendar so all your chores are done before Sunday. Open your home to family and friends for special Sunday meals – have pot luck dinners if you don’t cook or to ease the load on you as the sole chef. It doesn't have to be elaborate - something as relaxed/simple as a hot bowl of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is always tastier when shared in a relaxed environment around a table with special people in your life. Make time to sleep a bit later, go and worship as a family. Plan to talk a walk or a drive to a local park.
Underschedule your day so that you don’t necessarily have to be somewhere or do something all day long. Teach your children to just “be”, to learn to rest and enjoy the moment. Turn off the TV, read, nap… gently get ready for your upcoming week. Make it a technology sabbath as well by turning off the gadgets or at least minimizing their use. Create a special day just for you and your loved ones. Yes, it will be odd and possibly resisted or downright opposed/challenged at first as it’s completely opposite of what society now holds so dear – the go-go-go that leaves us unsatisfied and unfulfilled. But stand firm and keep those boundary lines intact!
Wild women, this is my hope and prayer for you this week – that you will buck the system, go against the flow, and wildly recapture a sabbath day for yourself, your own sanity and for those you hold dear. Exercise your right to hit the off switch and reclaim the peace and tranquility you so need at least one day a week. After all, even God rested on the seventh day!