Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

"Where have all our Sundays gone, long time passing? Where have all our Sundays gone, long time ago?"

Pardon my stealing from the anti-war song of the 60's but I've been grieving lately for the loss of the Sundays of my childhood. Remember when stores and businesses were mostly closed? Folks went to Church and then gathered for Sunday breakfast afterwards. Sometimes we took a Sunday afternoon walk or went on a family picnic in the park or a Sunday drive in the family car? Sometimes, Mom and Dad would even take a "nap." We kids weren't sure about that one. We just knew to stay out of my parent's bedroom for an hour or so on Sunday afternoons. Thinking back on those restful Sabbaths, I wonder to myself how did we allow this wonderful, civilized custom to get away from us? Because, make no mistake. We've lost our day of rest. The Sundays we knew are gone,gone, gone.

Now Sunday seamlessly blends in with the rest of the week. A lot of us are working. After all, someone has to staff those stores where we shop for groceries or the latest sales on "stuff." Our kids and grandkids are participating is a soccer league or some other organized activity. God forbid we give them time just to hang out with other kids. The number of families attending church has fallen dramatically. At home, we play catch-up, running around doing errands or the laundry or cleaning up the clutter we never had time to take care of during the week. We arrive at Sunday evening tired from our day off, wondering what happened to that day of rest we were supposed to enjoy.

"Keeping holy the Sabbath" is the forgotten commandment and, whether you are a religious person or not, when this commandment is ignored, our quality of life is diminished. Humanly, emotionally, we crave a day when our work is to rest from work, a day within every week when we take the time to reflect on where we are going and why, a day to give thanks, to ask forgiveness, to renew our relationships with the people who matter most in our lives.

The Jewish tradition of keeping holy the Sabbath has much to teach us. I love Rabbi Bernard Raskas's words, "The Sabbath is much more than cessation from work. Its real purpose is to teach us that every human being has a soul. If we rush and push and hurry all week, how are we to discover that we have a soul?"

Isn't that what it's about? We are so intent on keeping busy with making money, keeping fit, losing weight, getting our kitchens remodeled, keeping the kids active, going on trips, that we have lost the capacity to go inwards and figure out who we are and what we believe. Our lives may be full of activity but they are missing something important, the spirit that gives life to our days.

I don't expect that the local K-Mart or Safeway will accommodate us by closing their stores on Sunday any day soon. Not gonna happen. But, rather than bitching and moaning about it, we can do something about how we personally spend our Sundays.

We don't have to follow the crowd to the mall do we? Wouldn't it be cool if we could make Sunday "family day?" Try calling your brother in Texas who you never get a chance to talk with, read a good book, listen quietly to music, meditate, go for a bike ride. I don't know. Figure out your own way to spend your Sunday so it doesn't seem so much like Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the week. You know what I'm talking about?

Happy Sunday to you.