The first day of the week (or the last day depending upon how you look at it) has traditionally be a day of rest. A day of visiting with families, going to church, strolling by grave-sites to visit loved ones who have passed, sitting down with extended family to share a meal, and relaxing. Many stores and restaurants, bars and clubs were closed to enable families to stay home and just be together – to soak in the rare moments that family have together and to celebrate time off playing croquet in the yard, or watching a movie together.
Boy have things changed! In today’s world, Sunday is one of the busiest of the year. Whereas years ago people wouldn’t dare schedule sports events, practices or birthday parties on Sunday – Sundays today are filled with long to-do lists in order to prepare for the even busier week ahead. According to a Reuters survey, most parents who work do all of their grocery shopping and errand running on Sunday, and there are just as much take out dinners and delivered pizzas on Sunday as there are on the often celebrated Friday nights. Sunday is laundry day, grass-cutting day, the only day of the week that people have to wash the windows, do that touch up painting, or start yard work.
Certainly, we are a busy society. Certainly, we have forgotten about the ‘day of rest’ and have lost touch with one of the simplest parts of our being. Being. We are called human ‘beings’ for a reason yet very few of us spend any time just being. Instead, we are constantly and always DOING. Running. Going here and there. Feeling unsettled and anxious when we try to relax. Trying to fit it all in, get it all done, make the most of every daylight hour that we have available.
The ironic thing is that no matter what you get done on Sunday – all the work, and errands and shopping and going – you will only have to do it all over again another day. Maybe instead of scheduling our Sundays, we should take a small bit of advice from generations before of us that allowed us, encouraged us, empowered us even to use Sundays as a day for family.
A famous quote by Albert Schweitzer says,
“Do not let Sunday be taken from your soul. If your soul has no Sunday, you become an orphan.”
Of course, the quote was meant metaphorically. No one can actually take a Sunday away from us, as it is a day that comes each every week whether we want it to or not. Yet the advice in the quote, the profound meaning is one that so many of us are missing on it in this day and age of ‘do it all parenting,’ ‘having it all living’ that is leaving us many of us empty.
Ask yourself this. In ten years, will you remember the grocery shopping or your employees wedding or will you remember the backyard games of tennis? In ten years, will the take out pizza bring you more solace than sitting around your parents table and sharing a meal as a family? In ten years, will the ball games and ball practice replace the time that you could have spent with your loved ones? In ten years – will you have the same opportunities then as you do today – right here and now – to BE with your family? And most importantly, what kind of legacy are you leaving behind for your children? One that empowers them to make priorities and at least set one day aside to recuperate and be with the ones they love – or one that pushes them to do, do, do by jumping on the hamster wheel of a life constantly spent doing rather than being?
Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself is this. Don’t you deserve ONE stinking day each week to relax, enjoy yourself, allow time to coast by without planning, to do what strikes your fancy or nothing at all – to spend your time just being?
It is no secret that stress and anxiety disorders are at all times high in modern day society. There are more people taking Xanax and Klonopin on a regular basis than there are taking over the counter pain relievers. Nearly every illness from those that are mental, to those that are physical and deadly – are linked to roots of stress. And even with better healthcare and more advanced medicines, we are a ‘sicker’ world than we ever have been.
Could it be that taking our Sundays back could be a cure? Or at least a start. Could it be that shutting down technology, turning off phones, not answering emails, not working, not spending any money, not leaving your home for just one day – not scheduling or planning or wading in things to do for just one day during each week could help us live happier, more fulfilled lives? The only way to find out is to try it. To reclaim your Sunday for what it is – a day of rest, a day of being, a day of celebration for the things and people that you love in life.