“Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Today I was driving with two friends from church to work on an organic farm that grows fresh vegetables for local food pantries and homeless shelters. We were part of a small Sunday afternoon group that was helping a staff member put the gardens to bed for the winter. On the way over, we talked about the day, this day of the week in particular. We shared our angst about Sundays as the day that brought us the most anxiety. Commonly, this is a day that draws us inward; we think about the week ahead of us with dread.
Growing up, Sunday night was the night that I had the most trouble falling asleep. I hated school when I was young; I would have rather been home with my mother. At times, I would fake being sick in order to avoid hopping on the bus in the morning. My parents were well aware of my anxiety and did their best to provide a combination of comfort and tough love. My father was especially sympathetic. I have vivid memories of him coming to my bedroom to talk with me. He also sang songs-“Goodnight Irene” and “You Are My Sunshine” were standard.
As I a college student, I do not recall any feeling of Sunday blues short of the fact that it was a major study day. But upon entering the real world, dread reared its ugly head again. Then, after I became a full-time mother, it abated once more. I remember thinking, “Wow, I don’t have to deal with Sunday nights anymore!” (A small part of me thought this was one of the bonuses for staying at home with the kids.) It really felt like a relief.
Now, of course, I work full time and am once again battling those blues just like everyone else. As I stated in a previous post, Sunday afternoons were once some of the worst hours of the week for me. In particular, I recall the winter of 2011 to be an almost depressing time. We had an overabundance of snow that rendered the roads hazardous for weeks. For the first time in my life, running or walking became impossible because the streets were unsafe. My snowshoes were broken and my cross country skis were gone (I had sold them at a yard sale). I also had an under-abundance of money; so I had no social or shopping distractions to while away my time. What a great recipe for the blues!
However, time and money can certainly bring about a change in attitude. I have fewer money woes these days. The gift of time and God’s grace and mercy certainly have been a positive factor in the lessening of the Sunday Slump. I enjoy my faith community and am actively involved in its youth program. Worship is an uplifting and intellectually stimulating experience. Our community welcomes everyone regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. It is a place where love reigns; it is another area in my life where people are genuinely happy to see you.
Some of you may be asking, well this is only one part of Sunday, what about the rest of the day? As you know, my oldest son is in college (just about an hour or so away). Last spring, he requested that we make Sunday dinner. For those of you who are old enough, this was once a common cultural practice after church on Sunday-usually at a grandparent’s house. But I am sure that my son got the idea from the TV show “Bluebloods.” The final scene ends with the extended family saying grace and sharing a Sunday meal and conversation. In any case, I was happy to oblige and we were often joined by his lovely girlfriend and his brother. Well, I am happy to share that it is now a standing ritual in my house-even in the summertime! Many times, my son and his girlfriend will come down for church in the morning, help cook the meal and/or study. Sometimes they even stay overnight. My youngest, a working man himself, will often do his laundry or watch the Sunday football games. Lately, his girlfriend will drive over and join us. I love these days; they are quiet and comforting. Just last week, the five of us had a picnic supper of pulled pork and coleslaw as we watched “The Princess Bride” (probably for the 10th time or more). It was, after all, the 25th anniversary and my youngest son’s girlfriend had never seen it!
Today was different, of course. I spent the afternoon outside working. It was a perfect autumn day: sun, wind, big white/gray clouds. We didn’t have Sunday dinner due to conflicting schedules. Instead, because it was Family Weekend at my son’s college, we drove up Saturday night and had our “Sunday dinner” at a restaurant. No matter, though. My day and evening were not dominated by angst. And this is how Sundays need to be. We all have obligations tugging at our time and energy. (And for those of us in northern climes, there are now endless leaves to be raked!) Moreover, I realize that Sunday meals together will not last forever. The boys will eventually live independently and get married; I may move. Who knows? But the point is simple: Do your best on this day to bring yourself joy and satisfaction and, most of all, take time to be with those you love. The “blues” may very well disappear!