Sunday Struggles

As I wrote awhile back, days of rest are necessary. I believe pretty strongly in taking one per week, and commenter David (newmaldon) recently gave me a link to a guest post on Chip MacGregor's blog that reinforced that thought beautifully.

But I'm lately finding rest days a challenge. The problem comes on a Sunday afternoon, when I'm supposed to find something to do with myself. If a book has my attention, great. Sometimes Lou and I make it a home-date night, with a nice dinner and a movie or Scrabble; also great. But time to myself almost always means turning to the internet or writing, both of which I consider--to some extent--work. [The internet qualifies as work because participating in the great online conversation is, for an introvert and obsessive self-editor, something that requires a fair amount of effort.]

The writing side of my mind doesn't stop on Sundays, anyway. Creative process has no sense of reverence; it'll hit at church, right in the middle of the Eucharistic prayer if it gets the chance. It's also happy to really get going at 10 PM, making it ever so likely to drive away sleep. Hey, I'm not complaining--at least it comes to me. It's just ... like one of those people who, with the best intentions, always seem to call or arrive at an awkward time.

There's not much to be done about that (at least, I haven't come up with anything yet.) As for Sunday afternoons, maybe I just need to pull out my guitar more often. Somehow that hardly ever feels like work.

Most of you who come by this blog regularly are writers or artists/photographers or parents or otherwise busy people for whom "a day off" doesn't necessarily mean rest and relaxation. If you have thoughts on what making time to rest means for you, I'd love to hear them. :)


  1. "In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you’ve taken all the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul."

    Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged

  2. I have a ton of thoughts on this, but nothing that sounds like I'm an articulate being! Shall we have lunch in a couple weeks and discuss it?


  3. Hi Jenna! Sunday afternoons often feel like creative time to me, too...that creativity that flows from rest and refreshment in church, a slower morning with, perhaps, breakfast instead of oatmeal at a desk...

    Hard to define this when your actual work is creative.

  4. I keep, in a small sense of that word, the Jewish Sabbath. So my day of rest is on Saturday instead of Sunday. I don't write. I hardly use the computer. That's what I spend my week doing, and it's not for shabbat. Online is off. (I write freely on Sunday, though--6 day work week.)

    Mostly, I read. I read the Scriptures, but not portions I'm writing on. I read Terry Pratchett or whatever I happen to be reading. And I read other books that I don't get to during the week--books by Heschel and Nouwen, for instance, Chambers or San Juan de la Cruz. It's a quiet day for us, contemplative really. And needed after the recklessness of the week.

    As for readings about a day of rest, try Abraham Heschel's The Sabbath--a compelling read, a slim book that takes a long time to read.

    And I have a quite lengthy quote about creative impulse during eucharist, but at this comment is long enough as it is, I'll email it to you.

  5. George, LOL. That is exactly what I'm trying to avoid!

    Auntie-C, you had me at the word "lunch." Yes. Let's. :)

    Jana, great point. The idea that creativity flows from rest and refreshment and slowing would certainly explain why it's sometimes hard to focus through any prayer of more than a few words. Maybe I should try stopping all my busy stuff for awhile before any prayer, to work toward greater focus. Then, if creativity hit during church, at least I wouldn't feel so guilty. :)

    Mr. Pond, staying offline on Sundays is something I should probably make an effort to do. Being online contributes to the scattered mind, the tendency to skim instead of read, etc. It has its place--I'm not knocking it. But we still need that focused, contemplative time. I'll have to look up Heschel's book.

    Thanks, all of you--this helps! And the combox is still open for further thoughts.


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