A Lazy Sunday

Is there anything more lovely than a lazy Sunday? Saturdays, if they are lazy, are wonderful, too. But my Saturdays tend to be more frenzied. There are always errands to run or things to get done or activities in which to participate or friends to see. All of these things are pleasant, and they make Saturdays fun. But I’ve never thought of Saturday as a lazy day. Sundays, though … Sundays seem perfectly made for laziness.

In my growing up years, I hated Sundays. I may have written about this before; I have the distinct and sinking feeling that I’m repeating myself. But there are times when I suspect I don’t have any more original ideas inside my head. And so, off I go: repeating and repeating and repeating. Maybe. Possibly. Or, possibly not. Not that it matters. We are here now, and I want to talk about lazy Sundays. And that’s that.

As I was saying, I disliked Sundays in my growing up years. There was always an early roll call in order to attend Sunday School and church services. I tended to be a bit of a night owl on Saturday nights, often falling asleep around 1 or 2 AM. Being rousted out of a sound sleep at 7 did not make for a happy camper. We had to drive about 30 to 45 minutes (depending on weather and the deer population) to get to church. That drive seemed to take forever and a day. To this day, I swear time died in that car. I thought we would never reach our destination. It should have been a nice time to grab some extra sleep on the way to church, but this wasn’t usually allowed. Nor was sleeping during the hour-plus service. After church, there would be a short time of visiting and then another eternity of a drive home to prepare lunch. Once lunch and clean-up were done, the rest of the day spread out before me like a whole lot of nothing. There were chores to do, of course: dishes to do, horses, dogs, and cats to feed, sometimes some work in my little tack shed or a quick round of cleaning up the horse’s pen. Mostly, though, the heavier chores were done on Saturday.

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Childhood Sundays closed in around me like a blanket, muffling the realities of life. I grew up in the country, so it was quiet. Often, my dad was away for work. But, when he was home, my parents would do their own Sunday things, like reading, writing to friends, work on the car, or small household tasks. We never had the TV on during the day. That was reserved for evenings. I remember the small, background sounds of daily life: the hum of conversation in the other room, the clink of dishes in the sink, the snort and stomp of my horses, my dog barking at something outside my window. At the time, I thought Sunday would never end. It was so mind-numbingly BORING. I couldn’t wait for Monday to come so that I could set off into a new week with new adventures, and so I would be able to see my friends at school. Sunday felt like a never-ending span of nothing stretching out before me, into the far reaches of time.

I’ve lived a lot of years since those childhood days. I’ve been to different places, both as a visitor and as a resident. I’ve lived a different type of life. I’ve had excitement and tragedy and happiness and sadness. I’ve found things and lost things, and I’ve left bits and pieces of myself here and there along the way. There have been adventures, and noise, and just … lots of stuff.

And this is what I have discovered: I miss those quiet, lazy Sundays of my youth. There is a restlessness inside of me, but it’s not a restlessness to move forward. On the contrary, I very much wish I could move backward. Not necessarily backward in time, although there are some things I would love to recapture from my youth — in particular, dearly loved ones who have gone and are terribly missed. I would love to go back to a time when my parents weren’t old, and to when my life felt secure and safe. But, no. That time is gone, and it can’t be recaptured. I know that. But those lazy Sundays of my youth stand for a simpler life. A quiet life. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, and now, it seems like something that is forever eluding my grasp. I can feel it, just at the tips of my fingers, but it slips away every single time I reach for it.

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Today we had a lazy Sunday at my parents’ house. My daughter and I attended church last night, as is our routine. So I was able to sleep in a little today, and then I kept my mom company while she made lunch and we waited for my dad to come home from their church. We ate together, then all went our separate ways: me to finish reading a novel and take a nap, my dad to watch TV with his headphones on, and my mom to nap in her recliner. My daughter is holed up in her room, playing a game on her DS and writing.

And, as I sit here in my mom’s quiet kitchen, the small house sounds close in on me: the hum of the refrigerator and dishwasher, the click of the tea kettle on the stove as it cools, the sound of ice dropping into the freezer’s bin, the melodic music of the wind chimes outside the back door, and the gentle, electric hum of a house alive with happiness and memories. It has clouded over outside. The wind is picking up, and I hear the distant rumble of thunder. But I have a glass of iced tea on the table next to me. I have the comfort of these computer keys clicking under my fingers. I feel safe — peaceful and content — locked in the world of the lazy Sunday.

I asked my daughter earlier if she was bored. She gave me a funny look and said, “Of course not.” It seems she has learned to appreciate the small and simple pleasures of a lazy, quiet day at an early age. She’s definitely smarter than her Mama!

Putting It Out There

I try to put out into the universe what I would like to see come back to me. For example, when dealing with other people, I always try to treat them with the same respect and courtesy that I would like in return. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated — or better, actually. Sometimes, when dealing with a particularly annoying or rude person, I try to tell myself, “Self, how would you respond to this person if he/she wasn’t a stranger, but was actually your Mom?” Once I put things into those terms, it’s a little easier for me to have compassion, or to ignore insults and rudeness, or, at the very least, to have a little bit more patience. I try hard to live my life this way, and I try to live my faith this way, too. I know I don’t openly talk about my faith a lot in here, but it is very important to me. And my faith and beliefs teach me that I should strive to see Christ in every person I meet. I try to do this. I really, really do try.

It is  … Well, it’s darn hard. I am not a perfect person. Most of the time, I’m not even a particularly nice person. I am flawed and broken. I think the only thing I’m perfect at is being imperfect! I’m super good at that. Still, I hope it counts toward my universal karma (or whatever) if I try. If I try often enough, I might actually get good at this thing — one of these days. Or, maybe, I won’t. I don’t know. I might just remain perfectly imperfect, like I’m stuck forever marching in place.

Sometimes, I feel really discouraged and sad. Maybe even a little angry. Or a lot angry. Because it feels like I try hard to put the best of myself out there, only to have other people tramp all over it. Maybe my best “self” isn’t all that great, but it is the best I have. My best effort … my best attempt … the best of the feelings that live inside my heart. It hurts when I send those things out into the universe, only to get … well, crap in return.

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It makes me feel prickly and grumbly. And tired. Really, it makes me feel so damn tired when I think about the effort I make to bite back the mean things I want to say … or to do what I think is right, even when I don’t want to … or just to be nice to someone who will, then, turn around and slam (figuratively or literally) a door in my face. It makes me feel out of step with the rest of the world, like I am, somehow, all wrong or all out of place. I find myself asking, “What the heck is wrong with me? What is it about me that brings this out in people?”

Today, I had a situation where someone I have known and who has worked for me for several years treated me badly. I have always treated this person with respect and courtesy. I have gone above and beyond to help this person when they needed help. I have always been flexible with my schedule and kind in dealing with this person. And I have worried over this person even when our working situation became uncomfortable and stressful for me. The truth is, I should have parted ways with this person long before today, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I felt that this person depended upon me more than I depended upon them. Even so, this person did not treat me with the same kindness, respect, and courtesy I have always tried to show. It hurt. A lot. And, honestly, I wanted to be unkind. I wanted to tell this person to leave my house immediately. I wanted to deny them the comforts and courtesies I have shown all throughout our association. I was hurt, and I wanted to strike back at them, even if it was in a passive-aggressive way.

And that’s when I realized … I can’t control anyone else. I can only control myself. Of course, I knew this all along, but I think it’s kind of easy to forget sometimes, like when the tiredness of the world wearing away at  you gets to be too much or too heavy. And so, today was a good reminder for me. I could have followed my first impulse and been unkind and ugly. It would have made me feel a whole lot better about the situation — at least in the short run. But I have to live tomorrow and the next day and the hundred tomorrows after that with whatever I do today. I have to look at myself in the mirror and know the things I have done.

I’m not proud of my mean-spirited thoughts. And I know I will remain perfectly imperfect for a long time. Actually, I am pretty sure I will remain that way for the rest of my life and then some. But, for now, I’m going to keep on putting it out there: all the best of me, even if it’s a little bit tarnished and worn, and even if it’s  just a little at a time.