Sundays growing up in my home didn’t look like other members homes. I use to picture my Church friends in their homes with the Mom making homemade rolls and the smell of pot roast circulating around the kitchen. I pictured families gathering with cousins and grandparents while having a big feast. Families coming home from Church together and talking about what they learned in their classes.
I have no idea if that was ever really going on in others homes or where those ideas came from. I’m sure this was the experience for some members, but I’m also sure it wasn’t always smiles and laughing.
Sunday was my Dad’s only day off from work, so we would spend the day with him after my Mom and I would get home from Church. My Italian father would usually spend his mornings in the garden while we were gone, then hours in the kitchen making us pasta. We would sit down to a big feast and he would have my sister and I spell words to earn money. Sometimes we went out to dinner to my Dad’s favorite Mexican restaurant or we would go to the movies.
I didn’t really have a strong sense of what the Sabbath should look like growing up, I just knew we were together as a family for only one day during the entire week.
Many of my clients tell me that Sundays are the most stressful day of the week for them. Sometimes it is a battle with their children going to Church or trying to contain them alone during Sacrament Meeting. They tell me about the loneliness and pain they sometimes feel seeing couples and families sitting together.
I know that sadness, pain, and frustration is real for many on Sunday.
I remember getting to a point where I finally accepted that my father was not interested in ever learning about the Church. Religion was a topic we did not discuss at home. There were too many strong feelings about it.
Once I finally accepted that I was never going to have the homemade rolls and pot roast Sabbath days, the father who sat with me during Sacrament, and family prayer… then I was able to start practicing gratitude for what I did have.
I started to be grateful for a Dad who cooked for his family. A Dad who made me laugh and knew everything. I was grateful for a Mom who still took me to Church every Sunday. Grateful that I could still take the sacrament and have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. I didn’t need a Priesthood holder in my home to have that relationship. I was extremely grateful for the Spirit I was able to still feel when at Church…. the list started getting longer and longer.
But when I was hurting for things to look different, then I couldn’t see the good that I did have. I only felt resentment and pain.
If Sundays feel hard for you because you wish that maybe it would look different than it does, then it might be time to come up with a new vision for your family. One that you can still feel good about, and one that also feels good for your whole family.
What could your Sabbath day look like when you have love for yourself ?
What could your Sabbath Day look like if you are feeling love for your Savior?
What could your Sabbath Day look like if you felt love for your husband? For your family?
Maybe it won’t look like homemade rolls and pot roast, but it could be some amazing spaghetti. I know those were some hard choices my Mom had to make, but I am so grateful for her for choosing my Dad and our family on Sunday. Those are some of the best memories that I have of our family.
If you are ready to feel more joy on the Sabbath, then begin seeing your situation for where it is right now and create something that works for your personal family. It may not look like everyone else and you may worry about what is “right or wrong” to do. I do know that Heavenly Father loves families and wants us to feel love on that day, not anger or frustration.
I would begin by having each spouse make a list of things they would like to do on Sunday and why. Start with trying one thing from each list and begin some new traditions. Begin to get past the resistance and pain, and slowly start to allow gratitude to replace it. There is no joy without gratitude. There is always something to feel grateful for, even if it is small.
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness- it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. -Brene Brown
One thing that we like to do with our kids is sit around the dinner table and say one thing we are grateful for about the day. Sometimes it surprises me the little things that my children are happy about. Sometimes their answers are gospel related and sometimes they aren’t.
Practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives. –Brene Brown
Choose love on your Sabbath Day, whatever that may look like.
I know opening up these conversations about what the other person is feeling and would like to do can feel scary. If you need help knowing where to start, but want to start feeling more peace on Sundays, then sign-up for a free call to learn more.