Sunday Morning Problem

“Sunday Morning Problem,” Friend, Mar. 1998, 31


Sunday Morning Problem

If thou turn away … from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; … and shalt honour him [the Lord], … Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord (Isa. 58:13–14).

“Late again,” Mother sighed as she loaded Kelly, Maggie, and baby Grant into the car. As they drove to church, six-year-old Kelly glanced at Mom. She could always tell how well her new baby brother had slept the night before by how tired Mom looked in the morning. Kelly could see that Grant had not slept well last night. And Kelly could see from Mother’s wrinkled brow that she didn’t feel very happy.

Several Sundays in a row, Kelly and her family had been late for church. Dad always had an early meeting there on Sunday mornings, so Mom was alone to feed the children breakfast, clean up the dishes, pack a snack for Maggie, dress the children and herself, fix their hair, and drive to church. Sometimes things went smoothly and they arrived before sacrament meeting began. But lately Sunday mornings seemed to be a problem. …

One morning Grant had spit up just as they were about to leave, and Mom had had to change all his clothes. Another morning two-year-old Maggie couldn’t find her lacy slip and had refused to wear the plain one. It took Kelly and Mom a long time to find the lacy slip on a teddy bear in Maggie’s toy box. Last week they’d driven down the street on the way to church and had had to turn back because Mom remembered that she hadn’t packed Maggie’s snack for nursery.

Today Kelly herself had been so excited about her new tights that she had carried the package around with her all morning. But when it was time to get dressed, she couldn’t find the tights. She and her mother searched all over the house before finally finding the package under Kelly’s bedspread.

During the ride this morning, Mom was quiet. Usually she hummed a few notes of a Primary song and asked the girls if they knew which one it was. Then they’d sing the whole song. Maggie’s favorite was “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam” because she was almost a Sunbeam. Kelly’s favorite was “On a Golden Springtime,” and Mom’s was “When I Go to Church.” Kelly quietly began to sing, “I always have a happy feeling when I go to church. The organ plays so soft and sweet. …” She stopped when Mom just smiled but didn’t join in. Kelly looked out the car window and noticed all the beautiful spring colors. “Wow, Mom! Look at that bright yellow bush!” Her mother softly said, “Oh!”

In Sharing Time that day, Sister McPhee, the Primary president, talked about being peacemakers. She said that children help bring peaceful, happy feelings to their homes and classes when they help to solve problems. She challenged the children to be peacemakers by becoming problem solvers. Kelly thought about Sunday mornings. Can I help solve our Sunday morning problem? she wondered.

That night after Mom and Dad tucked her into bed, Kelly lay quietly thinking about the day. It had turned out great. In her Primary class, she was chosen to help Brother Bookstaber by holding up pictures as he told a story. After church, her whole family went on a long walk; they all oohed and aahed over the crocuses and the forsythia bushes in people’s yards. Then she and Maggie helped Dad gather a few pussy willows in their own backyard to mail in a tall, narrow box to Grandma. After dinner, their friends the Naganos came over, and Kelly helped her mother serve dessert. It was Kelly’s favorite—warm apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. It had been a great day—except for the morning. As she remembered how sad Mom had looked on the drive to church, Kelly had an idea. She could hardly wait for the next Sunday.

When Kelly woke up Sunday morning, she didn’t go downstairs and play with her kitty as she usually did. She quickly made her bed, went to her closet, and took out her Sunday dress. She hopped to the dresser and took out her slip, her tights, and her Sunday shoes and placed them all on her bed.

Next she went to Maggie’s room. She found her sister’s dress, tights, and shoes quickly, but Maggie’s lacy slip was not in her dresser drawers or in her closet. Kelly looked under Maggie’s bed and in the laundry hamper. The slip was nowhere to be found. Uh-oh, she thought. Maybe my plan won’t work, after all. Then she remembered that Maggie had been playing dress-up a few days before. Kelly ran to the dress-up basket, and there was her sister’s slip! Kelly quickly made Maggie’s bed and carefully laid out her Sunday clothes.

As Kelly went downstairs, she heard Mom in the shower. Kelly quickly found Maggie’s lunch box and placed an apple, a few crackers, and a juice box inside, then placed the lunch box on the counter.

When she finished her breakfast, she stayed in the kitchen and carried the dishes to the sink while Mom finished feeding Grant. Then Mom noticed the lunch box. She was surprised to open it and see a snack already inside. “I guess Dad made Maggie’s snack before he left,” she said. Kelly just smiled.

After Mom cleaned up Grant, she said, “Girls, it’s time to get dressed. Please run upstairs now.”

Kelly grabbed her sister’s hand and said, “I’ll race you upstairs!”

The girls dashed upstairs, and Mom followed. She looked in amazement at Maggie’s bed. “Why, who in the world made your bed? And who set out your clothes?” When she walked into Kelly’s room and saw her buckling her shoes, dressed and ready, she put the baby down and threw her arms around Kelly. “Oh, Kelly! Dad didn’t make a snack for Maggie—you did! And you cleaned the dirty dishes from the table and made the beds and set out the clothes. Thank you, sweetheart! Today will be the first Sunday in a long while that we’ll get to church on time. Thank you.” She squeezed Kelly again.

On the drive to church, Mom exclaimed, “Look, girls! Have you ever seen such beautiful spring flowers!” Kelly felt warm all over as Mom began to hum, “When I Go to Church.”

Illustrated by Julie F. Young