To be honest, I knew this before I became a single parent. It truly is the most accursed day in the diary. Before i don my special “whining on the internet” hat, let me first state that I LOVE Thursdays. Thursdays are the new Saturday. Or the new black. Or the new twenty-one (or something). But Sundays are awful. Here are my all time, top five, reasons to dislike Sundays:
1) It’s nearly Monday. My poor dad used to say that he only really enjoyed the Friday night bit of the weekend as Saturday morning was too close to Monday. Thankfully, I can hold this feeling off until that long dark tea-time of the soul which is Sunday.
1a) It’s nearly Monday, and I haven’t had a rest. This is a little appendix to 1). For 20(ish) years I’ve had the privilege of having weekends to recover from hangovers, go to matinees, read the paper, and only occasionally do dutiful things like visit relatives or worry about DIY. But now, the weekend is for doing the same jobs I do in the week, and there is the dawning realisation by 4pm Sunday, that I’m going to go to work more tired than I was when I left it.
2) Church. Ok, now don’t get me wrong. I love the people in church — especially little mid-week bible-study type groups. But really, I can’t stand going to church on a Sunday. This feeling has been multiplied by trying to convince a squawking blob that she wants to stay awake at a time she normally doesn’t, be quiet in a way she normally isn’t, and sit calmly/weightily in my aching arms for a length of time she normally can’t. My church is brilliant with kids, but my focus is still 95% on her and only 5% on what’s going on, so what’s the point of going?!
3) Sermons. This is clearly part of 2), but it’s so bad it deserves it’s own point. I must have listened to a good 1000+ sermons in my 20 years as a Christian and I think I have struggled to pay attention through 960 of those. (I apologise now to those of you whose sermons I have listened to. It’s really nothing personal. I hate the sermons I’ve written more than any others). I don’t know what it is about sermonising. I have listened to long, insufferably dull lectures at university (“rotation farming in 13th century Scotland” anyone?) but I still concentrated more then than I do during the average sermon. It’s not that it’s boring… it’s… it’s the “preaching”. I know, I know. That’s the whole point. I know. Go to point 4, you pedant.
4) Guilt. Not being able to listen to sermons makes me feel horribly guilty. And I also know that I’m not really meant to dislike Sundays more than any other day of the week. In fact, I’m meant to see Sunday as the most restful and special of days, and I feel pretty guilty that I don’t
5) Sundays are when the facade of normality is thinnest. I think this is true for anyone who has gone through a break up, or who doesn’t really have a family, or who just falls outside the “one partner, 2.4 kids” model. Sunday is like a mini-Christmas let-down every seventh day. At the back of mind is the idea we should be having quality time with our many loved ones and then going for a healthy, bracing walk. Or maybe having a Jamie Oliver style roast with our inconceivably good-looking friends. And when we try to reconcile that with the reality of a Sunday lunch of cheese straws and chocolate buttons while watching 4OD, it’s no wonder it feels a bit disappointing.
Writing this, i feel a bit sorry for “Sunday”, the buffer-day between the good times and the grind, a weekly no-mans land. Perhaps it’s time to redefine my working week in the same way my life has been so recently redefined. Maybe I could begin the week on a Wednesday and allow Sunday to be the breathing space at the heart of everything – with no boring culinary faff or guilt or expectations — but rather a day to be fully free to enjoy this new life in the way I want.
(This post is dedicated to all the children at church the other Sunday who, when asked by the minister “what is your favourite story in the Bible?” either froze when the mike came near them or just merrily yelled “JESUS!” [for, as any fool knows, the answer is always Jesus!])