Tuesday, December 15, 2015

and on the 7th day they rested

sunday afternoon a few weeks ago:
one of the significant markers of my childhood was the way we spent our sundays. 

in our house, we practiced the sabbath in the christian tradition. there aren't a lot of specifications on what that means, aside from resting, but what that meant in our house was some iteration of the following: we went to worship at church on sunday morning, then came home and had a big meal- maybe friends from church came and joined us or we just ate as a family, then nap time for everyone in the afternoon, then hanging out as a family, then a supper from leftovers and if there was a church service at night, we went to that too.

some of sunday shifted and evolved as we got older, but in my most formative years it also meant NO TV, no homework, no housework, no shopping, no eating out. my brother wasn't allowed to play on sports teams that played games on sundays. if i went on a sleepover? my mom would pick me up in the morning to take me to church. it sounds like a lot of 'no's" but it felt more like a kind of vacation from life's routines in a house of four kids and two busy parents.

sometimes it was a huge pain, like when i really wanted to go to an event with a friend from school or when i hadn't finished a school project. group projects in high school? nope- wasn't allowed to go work on them on sundays. fun friend who wanted me to come over? off limits, unless it was a friend from church and i was going over to hang out with their family for the afternoon.

sometimes it was the best excuse- like aforementioned group projects in high school or when i didn't really want to go over to someone's house but i didn't feel like i could say "sorry, i don't really want to."

most of the time it was awesome. it was a mellow, restful day in the midst of a busy life. it was time to hang out without feeling guilty that i wasn't doing my homework. when i got older it was forced but organic hang-out with my siblings and parents, which i think it was actually really wonderful as the eldest sibling. it was freedom to play and rest and accomplish nothing at all. 

what's funny is that when i moved away to college i kept to much of the schedule, including naps in the afternoon and not doing any schoolwork. i still rarely do housework or work on sundays, and i love taking a nap or reading the paper on a sunday afternoon. 

i think my parents truly gave me a gift with the structure and rules we had, and as an adult, even as much as i race from one thing to the next during the week, it is my at-home feeling to have a sabbath. it feels like my childhood, and it feels right in my bones. matt and i have, since the beginning of our marriage, tried to make sunday a day of rest as much as possible, but we are leaning in to it even more right now. as we intentionally try to maintain a sabbath practice(with different guidelines - but the intent to rest, not work, allow ourselves to be still and enjoy doing nothing), i realize how counter cultural it is to stop feeding the machine of activity. it's hard! and yet, it does something deep inside of me. it gives me license to slow down. it feels like a radical act to spend a day of my week in which i am not consuming, not producing, not racing around, not in constant motion. my girls love it, because we play, read, cook, talk with them without the interruptions of our laptops, housework, phones. don't get me wrong- everything beckons: my to do list is just as long on sunday! but we are trying to make it a practice that gives our family the spiritual and emotional reserves to carry on life the other 6 days of the week.

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