Sabbath Day Dread

Growing up, Sunday was my least favorite day.

I loved Friday after school and all day Saturday. These represented days of complete freedom. Sure, there were chores on Saturday. But once I got those done (which typically took multiple attempts) I was free to play.

Bobby was my best friend.

He lived right across the street. We were inseparable — except on Sunday. You see, he was Catholic. As such, he did not have the same constraints on the Sabbath as I did.

Don’t get me wrong, they were a church going family and attended Mass each Sunday. But when their church was over, so was their Sabbath.

So, while I was in my Sunday prison, Bobby was outside playing.

While I was getting all the “blessings” of reluctantly keeping the Sabbath day holy, Bobby and his family were picnicking at the park and being otherwise “punished” for not being Mormon.

Growing up, Sunday was my least favorite day.

Part of my problem was I faced this holy day seeing only the restrictions and being blind to the freedoms celebrating the Sabbath afforded me.

I couldn’t go outside.

I couldn’t watch TV.

I couldn’t go to Bobby’s house.

I couldn’t do my homework. (Okay, that was never really a struggle).

So Sunday became a day of couldn’ts.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until serving a mission that I came to better understand how the Sabbath became a day of celebration on not a day to dread.

Why?

On my mission the Sabbath became a day of coulds instead of couldn’ts.

I could spend the day communing with the saints as opposed to facing rejection while tracking.

I could spend some time of the day focusing on my personal relationship with God.

I could rest from the cares of the week and spend time reflecting on how best to serve my investigators, my companion, and the members in the week ahead.

When I grew up, Sunday became my favorite day.

My transition from dreading the Sabbath day to embracing it started when my attitude shifted from being constrained to being liberated. When I my wife and I became parents, we tried to avoid creating an atmosphere of Sabbath-dread.

Of course, we were not always successful. It is hard for children to accept constraints without complaining. Plus, none of our children really look forward to three hours of church being told to be quiet, sit down, and don’t bother your sister.

Yet, I am still convinced the more we teach our children about what they can do and spend less time worrying about what they can’t do we can transform the Sabbath from a day of dread to a time of joyful celebration. (Okay, maybe not joyful celebration…)

We need to find ways to help our children grow up with Sunday being a more positive day.

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