“Savoring the Sabbath,” Ensign, Feb. 1983, 64
A few years ago I decided I was tired of waking up Sunday morning thinking, “Oh no, another Sunday! Will I endure to the end of this one?” I would hear other people say how they looked forward to the Sabbath, yet I felt guilty because that wasn’t the way I felt. After thinking quite a bit about it, I decided to find out what was wrong with my attitude, and do something to improve it.
I began by looking back at past Sundays. I would go to sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and Relief Society and hear over and over again the things I should be doing on the Sabbath—genealogy, letter writing, visiting the sick, reading the scriptures, resting, keeping a journal. I wanted to be obedient and I felt I was doing my best to accomplish these things.
I remembered the time I had the kitchen table all covered with my precious old letters and pictures as I did some genealogy. I was just off to a good start when the phone rang. I returned five minutes later to find that my two small children had decided to glue grandpa where they thought he looked best—which was on the kitchen wall—and write their own letters over the top of my personal, precious old ones. Needless to say, the spirit of Elijah, along with the spirit of the Sabbath, had left me.
Other Sundays I had tried faithfully to write letters and keep my journal. But anyone who has more than one child at home knows that the minute you sit down to write, pre-schoolers suddenly become fascinated and want to write too. It is difficult, to say the least, to concentrate when they keep asking you how to spell grandma.
Visiting the sick had been suggested as a good Sunday activity, so my husband and I decided to go one Sunday. A good friend of ours was in the hospital, so we got the house in order and left our oldest child in charge. Our friend was glad to see us and we enjoyed our visit with her. On the way home I felt so good inside I thought, “This is what the Sabbath should be like. I did something useful today.”
But when I opened the front door, I was shocked to discover that some hurricane must have passed through my living room. At that moment, our oldest daughter ran past us in tears and informed us (as she slammed her bedroom door) that we were never to leave her at home with the little boys again, and that if she had boys when she got married, she was sending them back!
As I thought of these experiences, I began to recognize the problem. It was as though a light had gone on in my mind, and I wondered why I had been so slow to see what was wrong. I was trying to do “my” genealogy, visit “my” friends, write in “my” journal, read “my” scriptures and write “my” letters. What about my children?
Now whatever we do, we do as a family. We do genealogy, but it consists of gathering the kids around and telling stories about when we were young. Our children enjoy stories about their grandparents and looking at old slides, and photo albums. We read scriptures, but we do it as a family even though we may get only one chapter read. We tell Bible stories in our own words and act out Book of Mormon stories. I don’t write in my journal, but I help the children write in theirs. We don’t visit anyone on Sundays unless we can take the whole family. We go for walks, and watch films we have checked out of the meetinghouse library. Selected TV has also been included.
Sundays are now my favorite days. I love them because I no longer try to do only what I personally want to do, but spend the day with my family. I still try to do the other things I should be doing, but I don’t do them on Sunday. Someday, when my children are grown, all this may change and I can go back to more personal interests on Sunday. But for now, we savor the Sabbath as a family. Tonie Wilcock, Powell, Wyoming