Sundays, if a homemaker is not careful, can easily begin to seem a lot like all the other days of the week. Except for the fact that there's church in the morning, I mean. I have a lot to learn about keeping the day of rest separate from the rest of the week, I am no expert. No siree, in fact, I have a lot of questions about how to spend the day in a way that honors God.
Wise counsel over the years of my studies has led me to believe that the admonition to "do no work" does not equal "do nothing". I believe resting can mean recreating - doing something that revives us from our labors. However, I repeat, I am no expert.
I love the phrase by Abraham Joshua Heschel calling the sabbath day a "cathedral in time". Each week as Sunday approaches I try -- and often fail, but I keep on trying -- to take measures to prepare for the day. With planning and effort, I can make room for Sunday to be a day with more rest in it than if I did not prepare. In fact, in our house I am known as "Sunday Heather" on Sundays, because on Sundays I rest a lot. I move slowly, I don't start projects, I take longer to do things. Here's what this homemaker does to get ready for Sunday:
- By Saturday night, have the kitchen counter cleared and the dishwasher empty.
This means that on Sunday, there will be a place for me to simply stow dirty dishes away in the washer instead of dealing with them or with clean dishes that would need to be put away.
- By Saturday night, have the dining table set for Sunday's after church lunch. Sometimes, if I'm exhausted, I go for the rock-bottom goal of simply having the table clear and ready for setting before the meal. Other times, when I'm feeling like a rock star homemaker, it means that I have a special tablecloth out and candlesticks ready for lighting, places set and serving spoons out. This creates an anticipatory feeling in the living/dining area of our home: not in a show-off way I hope, but in an ushering-in-the-sabbath kind of way. Having the table set the day before also means that on Sunday that's one less thing for the homemaker to even think about/make time for doing.....it means there is resting time in place of doing time before the meal.
- By Saturday night, I try very hard to have laundry finished so that on Sunday I will definitely not need to do laundry. For me, this makes Sunday stand out against the other days of the week, because I do laundry pretty much every day except Sunday. In our household we use cloth diapers on little Elena, so having laundry completed for Sundays means that I have a niiiiice stack of clean cloth diapers stacked on the changing table, yahoo!
Note: this does not always happen. Sometimes I blow it, and instead of a restfully prepared stack of snowy white diapers, they are in a heap in the dryer down the hall, and I have to deal with that on Sunday instead of luxuriating in a calm, lovely, prepared stack.
- By Saturday night, I glance around the closet that my husband and I share and make sure that he has some ironed dress shirts to choose from for the morning service. Sunday mornings are a terrible time to have to iron.
- Because of our particular recycling situation, which is too uninteresting to explain, trust me, I pack our cardboard recyclables into my husband's car trunk before he leaves for work on Saturday afternoon. (He works Tues-Sat.) That way, we can dump them at the recycling place after church. Oops, is this work? Hmmm. :o) Sigh.
- And, I try to pack the diaper bag the night before, too. This includes a small cloth bag full of quiet tiny toys to keep Elena occupied throughout the whole service. Once I forgot this detail, and I hope I never forget it again!
- Before bed on Saturday I pull out whatever I'm defrosting for our main course on Sunday.
That way, when we wake up on Sunday, a lot of the details are taken care of and we aren't starting the day completely from scratch.
Is this perfect? No, often we are still pulling out the garage a few minutes late. Is this the only way to do this? No. In fact, I would really appreciate hearing anyone else's ideas for preparing for Sundays. Any suggestions?