I used to have a hard time playing the glad game on Sunday. There were a few things I could find to be glad about Sunday but for the most part my feelings would join Pollyanna when she said, “Well at least we can be glad because it will be a whole week before Sunday comes around again!”
Truthfully most of the time I didn’t want Sunday to come around again. I know that sounds awful especially in light of the fact that my family has served in some capacity of ministry in nearly every church I have ever been to in my entire life. Prior to moving to Haiti church had mostly been anything but a Sun-day for me. It was typically a Stress-day for our family. My father served as a pastor from my K-12th grade years. Stressful preparations, stressful people to deal with, stressful (often unreasonable) expectations, stressed parents and stressed kids. We occasionally made time for some fun days but they were not on Sunday and recovery time from Sunday to Sunday usually left room for little else. I had a 4 year break in college when I went to church (most of the time) and enjoyed it because it was totally my free choice to get up and go and worship, learn and fellowship and that was fun. Then I married a pastor and for 12 years prior to moving to Haiti our Sunday’s were always full. Certainly there were fun moments with joyful celebrations of lives changed. Yet typically Sundays were full of stress. Please don’t get me wrong as this is not a bash the church blog. I love the Church. We chose this kind of stress and we loved the reasons for the stress which were the people we love. It was not bad. But it was not always good. Sometimes the things we experienced in church just made us so sad. When you serve in ministry inside a church it is often almost impossible to share the sad part of your own struggles with nearly anyone there. You often have the privilege to help sad and struggling people, but rare are the times you can struggle openly. You know things about many people but very few know many things about you. At least it felt like that to me the majority of my life. Sunday was rarely a family day after marriage and kids. It was hard to find another day that was. I can remember very few times over 12 years that I even got to sit with my husband in church because he was too busy serving others or because I was busy taking care of little ones in the nursery. It is very easy for me to understand why so many people get completely disillusioned with church. Especially those who spend a good deal of time serving. We loved serving and don’t regret it. I just regret that I didn’t find ways to enjoy Sunday much more.
The thing about Haiti is that it is pretty difficult NOT to share your struggles. The struggles are evident. Just getting places is a struggle and the sadness you see along the way is real and heavy and a burden you can’t bear alone. Even though everyone has different stories we all have felt this sadness. Everyone needs a Sun-day and we don’t want to wait a whole week for it to come around!
Sunday is now a day I usually really look forward to each week! I’m so thankful for our sun filled Sundays! We are thankful for the doors that have opened for us to serve the body of Christ in Haiti with Montrouis International Fellowship for the past two years. This fellowship travels from several areas over rocky, sometimes flooded, sometimes hostile area roads to come together on Sundays to be together. We come from several different denominational backgrounds. That is sometimes interesting, sometimes hard, but mostly a refreshing teeny taste of what Heaven will be like. It isn’t about going to church. We have not even formally called ourselves a church. It isn’t perfect. There are still unmet expectations. There are still stressful preparations and people like us that inflict much stress upon ourselves and others. I’m still perpetually late to church even though I love it. I love it because it is just a bunch of broken people getting together in a broken place. We are a hot mess and I haven’t met anyone yet who pretends to have it all together. We just enjoy being a hot mess together. Our stories are different and the same. We have this Hope that brought us to this place and Who we are trusting to get us through another week until our next Sun-day. Sunday should have always been a Son-day. But how often do we not make it about Him, the One Who invented Sunday in the first place, at all?
Do you enjoy Sunday or is it stealing your joy? What can you do differently right where you are to light up your world?