I grew up at the tail-end of an era that allowed, encouraged, and sometimes forced businesses to close on Sunday because it was a time for friends, family and/or God. Sunday was a day of rest. It was a time when people tended their faith and/or spent time with friends and family. It was a day to reap the rewards of a job well done for the previous workweek.
Every community should have a day set aside for collective bonding and rest; a day to enjoy the benefits of one’s effort; a day to be grateful for others in our lives.
When exactly did Sunday go away?
Obviously, we’ve always needed our civil servants and hospital workers (much gratitude to them), but did we really need to shop? The answer to that lies with other changes also occurring in our culture. With more and more moms working outside of the home, we did (kind of) need the weekends for shopping. It began with a convenience store, and a grocery store here and there. Retail outlets soon learned staying open when their customer-base had free time, meant being open later in the evening and on weekends. With this societal shift, we lost civil servants, healthcare workers AND grocery, service and retail workers to hours that were not conducive to practical community and family-gathering time. Those who work in these industries often miss the things that used to be important to our health and well-being like visits with friends and family, outdoor picnics, church, lazy afternoon naps and family dinner.
I might think we also lost Sunday when our entertainment began to overtake our down time. Things like the weekly news and pro football on Sunday nights could have promoted bonding if everybody sat down together to enjoy and discuss them, but those shows soon became inundated with advertising. Ads make us want things, and thus, we had to head out to the stores, bars and restaurants that were willing to serve us on a (gasp) Sunday.
Now that work schedules run all around the clock and calendar, and with technological innovations like social media, Sundays are often spent with one’s face toward the computer, tablet or television. It’s a time to catch up on DVR’d shows and Facebook posts.
I realized this addiction within me and decided I could no longer live with electronics and “noise” 24/7, so I’m bringing back a day of rest from the buzz of the world with my own “disconnected Sunday”. I don’t open my computer, tablet, TV, etc. The past two weeks have involved creativity and art with my daughter and a good meal with my family (and phone conversations with more distant family). I sometimes catch myself wanting to Google this or that or check my Facebook in the afternoon to find if I’ve gotten anymore Likes on my recent post. Habits are hard to break, but it feels great when they’re broken and you can walk away from those things that no longer serve their purpose (as if they ever really did).
Sunday is now a time for me to disconnect from the techno-world and reconnect with nature, my family and my inner world. I wish more people could rediscover the beauty of a mutually-respected day of rest for all. It needn’t have anything to do with religion or the idea of an external God. In fact a day of rest and community is paying respect to the God within all of us because we are each deserving of it.