Sunday, February 1, 2009

Remembering the Sabbath

When I was growing up, there was much more emphasis (at least in my circle) on keeping the Sabbath Day "holy". We went to church in the morning and evening. My parents spent the afternoon reading the newspaper and napping -- no housework, no grading school papers, no gardening, no shopping unless absolutely necessary. It wasn't that they were legalistic about it, exactly; that's just how we spent the day.

But it always struck me as odd that on Sunday--our day of rest--Mom would make the biggest, nicest dinner of the week. Usually a pot roast (apparently a Southern Baptist thing?). Even though it was just Dad, me and her. Tell me -- what is restful about that?

Of course, that thought didn't occur to me while she was doing it . . . only many years later when I was wife of my own household and felt obligated to do it as well. I occasionally made an effort, but with just me and Keith -- plus one or two small children who wouldn't eat anything prepared for a "nice" dinner -- it seemed kind of pointless.

Our last few years in NJ, I started a new routine for our family: Sunday lunch is the time to eat up the leftovers from the week. (This was handy, because I did my weekly grocery shopping on Sunday nights -- the slowest time of the week for grocery stores, especially during football season, especially when the Eagles were playing well.) Now, that was restful. Pull out the Tupperware, open it up, put out paper plates. Everyone piles their own meal on a plate and heats it themselves.

But since we've been here, we have a new routine. We eat out after church every Sunday. I realize this is not a unique concept -- scores of preachers time their sermons so the congregation can get to the restaurants before the Presbyterians (or Methodists . . or Baptists . . insert rival denomination here). But it was new for us. Partly because we're cheap and don't eat out much unless it's a date night or fast food (reference my early post about my husband being a good money manager). But also because eating out was something of a no-no when I was growing up, too. Maybe you didn't have to work when you ate out, but somebody did. (Interestingly, the only Sunday lunches I remember eating out were on Mother's Day. Hmm!!)

I'm really enjoying eating out for Sunday lunch. I like trying different restaurants each week. I like visiting with the family about the church service without a TV nearby to distract us.

But I still revert to my parents' Sunday afternoon habits. I nap. I read. I learned long ago that I genuinely need one day a week to rest -- to do nothing, at least nothing that has to be done. There were Sundays in Jersey when I went to an afternoon matinee of a show, because that was the only time I could get there . . or we would get some shopping done, because that was the only available time to do it . . but I always regretted it later in the week. I desperately need that down time. When I have it, my batteries get regenerated for the upcoming week. When I don't, they don't.

So, God knew what He was doing when He gave us one day out of seven to rest. Really . . . I need to remember more often that His ideas are always better than mine.

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