It took a few Sundays to get it down, but soon I was unwinding and relaxing on Sundays, “St. Therese style.”
by Becky Arganbright
As a kid, I used to hate Sundays. To me, Sundays were nothing more than the slowest day of the week. No shopping was allowed that day. On the flip side, no major chores were done, either, but I still felt the day was pretty much a waste of time—and to make matters worse, Monday came right after Sunday.
My appreciation for Sundays didn’t really start until I read St. Therese’s autobiography. She talked about how her sisters would let her sleep in on Sunday, bringing up a cup of hot chocolate for her to drink in bed; then she would have the luxury of having her hair curled. (Though she admits that at times she didn’t like this, as her hair would sometimes get pulled in the process.) Later, they would go to Mass, and then go on a walk or fishing trip. The way she talked about Sundays and her simple appreciation of family time got me thinking: Everything she talked about (minus the hot chocolate and Mass) was what I didn’t like about Sundays. I wondered why I felt that way, and why it was so hard to relax.
Why does God command us to rest on Sundays, and even more strangely, why do we resist this commandment so much? As busy moms, especially, our #1 complaint tends to be how we “have no time.” We complain that we don’t have enough time with our children, or we don’t have time to make those fancy dinners, or how we would like more time with our spouses. Sundays make all this possible—if we honor it—and yet, we don’t take advantage of what God has set aside for us.
Well, I don’t know about everyone else, but as for myself, it’s hard to take a break from the busyness. I get anxious as the hours go by and I’m “doing nothing.” I would say that it even feels “wrong” or “unnatural.” Lazy. It’s hard to put off getting school supplies when I know school is just around the corner. It’s hard to resist grocery shopping, or working on house projects, or cleaning out the refrigerator. I’m not even a clean freak, but I would rather clean my house than lie around.
I finally concluded that our human nature doesn’t know how to relax. We complain that we have “no time,” but we don’t know how to use it when we do. We will take a few hours to relax, maybe, but an entire day? Or perhaps we think we have to block out a week for vacation in order to relax—yet we have a scheduled and mandatory day of rest every week!
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you,” St. Augustine says, and he is right! I cannot truly find peace of mind, body and soul, until I let go of my cares and worries and turn my mind and heart to God. This is what Sundays were made for. This is why God created them and made it a commandment to take time to care for ourselves, and care for our souls, so that we can take care of each other.
My parents instilled a good habit in us kids as we were growing up; no doing business on Sundays that can wait until Monday. I unfortunately lost this good habit for a while and began to take advantage of my bank’s open hours on Sundays. I figured it was okay, since they were open for only a little time. But my conscience started to get to me, and I stopped doing my Sunday bank trips. Not too long after that, the bank announced that due to a lack of business, it would no longer be open on Sundays. I’m not saying that it was due to just me refusing to go to the bank on Sundays, but hopefully because there are a lot of Christians who are practicing the law of honoring Sunday. Not only does that give me hope, but it also gave about 30 bank employees the day off they deserved to rest, whether they’re religious or not.
If my husband happens to lift his eyebrows at the little messes that accumulated throughout the day, all I have to say is, “It’s Sunday,” and he knows what that means.
It’s the one day of the week that no one gets in trouble for lying around, including myself. If my husband happens to lift his eyebrows at the little messes that accumulated throughout the day, all I have to say is, “It’s Sunday,” and he knows what that means. It’s Sunday, a day of rest, and a day to choose not to worry and fret over messes. We have six days to clean it up! One day to rest! It’s our one day when it’s not only okay to put aside the chores and “sit at the feet of Jesus,” but required. I have learned to love my Sundays, my one day of true rest. My day to relax body, mind and soul. I have become a more relaxed person because of it.
As I listen to my neighbors mow their lawns, or drive by a parking lot, jammed full of Sunday shoppers, I try to be understanding. remembering that it wasn’t that long ago that I felt the same restlessness, too. But I hope for their sake that one day, they too will learn to love Sundays. Time is so precious, and we need to use it wisely, both in work and in rest. I pray and wait in hope for the day when all people will learn how to rest.
But until then, you can find me loafing on my balcony, with my cup of vanilla latte, doing absolutely nothing, letting the minutes tick by, and loving it.