Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keeping the Sabbath

Since September 9, 2005, Sundays have been hard. Actually, the first Sunday after Simon was born wasn't hard - it was fun. I got to show off my new baby, and he would sleep soundly in his seat through church while people oohed and ahhed over him. About three weeks later, I began a slow spiraling journey into HATING Sundays. I'm sorry, it's true. Sundays became the least restful day for me, the day I felt least alive with the love of Christ.
This is what Sunday meant to me:
Wake up, get dressed in something nice. Dress the baby in something nice. Drive to church, where I was faced with a choice: either sit in the "cry room" with a cranky baby or drop him off in the nursery, and listen to him scream throughout the service. And then we went to India where there was no nursery, so I would sit outside in my nice clothes with my baby. Then my baby got old enough to throw temper tantrums. Recently, he got mad that it was time to go to children's church, and he threw his sippy cup at the head of the man sitting in front of us.
Oh yes, there are many friends, wonderful people I'd love to know. Maybe it's just my personality, but I have a difficult time connecting with people while I'm being tugged, whined at, and being repeatedly asked to go home.
Then Baby 2 arrives. Which means, we arrive at church. We sing happily for about 7 minutes. Then Simon has to pee and Taly has to eat and we end up in our separate corners of the church.
It begins to feel like you're going just to go, and you're not even sure whose benefit it is for anymore.
And then you come home. It's well past naptime, but no one's eaten lunch. The days of leisurely lunches with friends after church seem long gone.
And this has become my sabbath. It doesn't give me a break from my work, it ups the intensity of it. Not only do I have to me a mom, I have to do it in public, in an environment where everyone else seems to handle it just fine.
I have spent the last 3 years attending church partly out of duty and partly out of a sincere faith that God will meet me in my desire to raise my children in the church.
And then, last week, in a moment of desperation, we decided to do something drastic.
We went to early church. We woke up the kids, threw them in clothes, barely got our teeth brushed, and arrived at church way too early in our jeans. There is no children's church in this service, so we avoided that fight. Taly napped in my arms, while Simon drew on the bulletin. And, amazingly, when church ended, it was only 10:00. Why, we have time to go to Sunday School! Our usual battle with our traumatized three-year-old ended in hope because we knew that in Sunday School (versus Children's Church) the same sweet teacher would be there ever single week for Simon to feel secure (eventually). So, what the heck, let's stay! And with our babies safely stowed away in their classrooms, I found I actually had time for a few minutes to visit with friends and potential friends. Wow.
And then it was all over. And it was 11:00. We picked up an early lunch, and spent the rest of the morning at the park as a family. Home in time for naps for everybody.
And I felt rested. So, my life has changed. Early church it will be for us. We will likely battle over Sunday School for a while (as we battle over every child care opportunity). But, even on the toughest mornings, we will be home on time for naps. And if the Sabbath is for rest, that is very, very important

5 comments:

Sarah said...

I feel you pain. You are not alone.

Kristin said...

I can relate!

Therapy Mom said...

I'm with you on this one friend! I'm glad to hear of your positive experience going to the early service. We've contemplated it here and there...maybe we'll give it a try soon! Thanks for putting into words what we are ALL feeling!Erin

Therapy Mom said...

I'm with you on this one friend! I'm glad to hear of your positive experience going to the early service. We've contemplated it here and there...maybe we'll give it a try soon! Thanks for putting into words what we are ALL feeling!Erin

Natalie said...

That's amazing Susie!... I just had that conversation with John the other day... so we're making some adjustments too!... I guess I'm not the only one! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!