Sunday, Boring Sunday

On the seventh day, God rested from his labors. That one day, where God kicked off His sandals, settled into His Heavenly Boy recliner and drifted off for a nap, has become, after several disputations and alterations, Sunday. Sunday is also known as the Sabbath Day, but not like the boring old traditionalists’ Saturday Shabbat or the Muslim’s Jum`ah which they do on Friday just to be different. The typical Christian Sunday has come to be a day where we rest from the cares and labors of the world and slowly let our minds and bodies atrophy into a state of nothingness.

Growing up an impressionable Mormon youth, Sunday was always a special day. So was Saturday as, after all, it is the day we get ready for Sunday. Sunday meant that I had to wear a shirt whose collar always fit just loose enough to avoid complete asphyxiation and I had to figure out how to control my hyperactive self for three hours of reverent time. As my parents refused to join the masses in bringing the requisite Cheerios snacks, drawing pad, or electronic baseball games to church, I found ways to entertain myself.

Usually, this involved me dreaming of essentially the same scenario over and over again. A man storms into the chapel during one of the talks and wields a machine gun in the air. Everyone cowers under their pews and he makes his way to the pulpit where he asks “If anyone here believes in God, stand up now.” No one does, no one except a small primary boy whose convictions trump his will to survive. Occasionally I make my way to the assailant with his bullets finding my spiritually shielded body impenetrable. Sometimes, there were ninja kicks. Other times, he was so moved by the response that he would drop his gun and ask where the baptismal font was. In every case, I was heralded as the boy hero who inspired everyone around him and who was allowed to go without a necktie to church or stay home if channel 13 had a really good movie on.Through my years of aging and day-dreaming in church, I have come to somewhat enjoy parts of the experience. This stems more from the entertainment of a non-professional religious system where any crazy can bear testimony when they feel like it, not necessarily my spiritual magnitude. However, now with two small children, the Sabbath and the preparation required for it have gone from the seventh day to the seventh circle of Dante’s Inferno. We have church at 9:00. If either Miranda or I have a meeting in the morning, we have church at 7:00. This interferes with at least one of our children’s waking time, napping time, feeding time, or pooping time. If we somehow manage to throw clothes on our children to make them look a little less like they live in a shelter, then we have to worry about bringing bags for them. These bags contain the items I dreamed of having as a child which our children are not only allowed to bring but must have in order to keep them quiet for the duration. This may involve one or more devices that may not be operated on a plane during take off.

Luckily, we are devoted Saints and are willing to spend the first part of our Sunday hogtieing and wrestling greased and squealing children in order to attend church and to our duties in said church. When we finally make it home, following any post-church meetings or duties, we are ready to eat the countertops out of starvation. After gorging ourselves on whatever we can find to put into our mouths within seconds of our arrival, we, hopefully drift off into a deep “day-of-rest” sleep, provided one of the children doesn’t decide he is ready to convert to Judaism. When the dust settles, Sunday afternoon encroaches and we are confronted with the option of how to spend the rest of the daylight.

Throughout the workweek, there is rarely any time between when I get home from work and the children go to bed. That time is usually filled with dinner, superfluous church activities, and the occasional tickle sessions. Saturday is for finishing up any chores that I may have or video games that I need to beat. Here we have a whole afternoon, bound by our inability to perform any task that might be considered “work”, and we stare at each other completely bored out of our minds. We could visit the grandparents. The welcome trip out of the house and the free meal are a tough trade-off for the increase of rambunctiousness when our children are set loose in a new environment that makes the trek far from relaxing. We could go on a walk, but that might involve changing out of our pajamas and into something slightly respectable.

And so, for yesterday’s Sabbath, we broke out the activity that epitomizes boredom on every level—the jigsaw puzzle. Of course, for me, the jigsaw puzzle coincides perfectly with my obsessive compulsiveness. It is a tedious task with little reward which sounds exactly like most of what I do in my life, only a puzzle has pretty pictures. And so we put the kids at work destroying the playroom while their mother and I set out reconstructing a puzzle of the Sahara Desert. My children went to bed (something that has become a relative term as of late) and were soon followed by my wife. I, on the other hand, started playing my iTunes with some Andrew Bird and went to town.

Piece-by-indistinguishable-piece I reunited the cardboard coagulations. Before I knew it, I was all the way to the Postal Service on iTunes and nearly to the half-way point of the puzzle. My little brain continued to spin, finding the perfect unison of each of the pieces even after I found my way to bed around one in the morning. I woke up this morning with a crying child who I immediately placed in a bouncing chair while I continued my labors from the previous day. He was very confused, but tried to direct me to which piece I should choose next by crying if it was the wrong one. Needless to say, little got done.

I plan on returning home tonight and, after quickly consuming a meal, descending to my cave to finish my oeuvre. I, after all, was the creator and organizer of this masterpiece. You can blame it on my competitive nature or my OCD or any number of my negative personality traits, but when it comes to jigsaw puzzles, I find myself enraptured, captivated, and entirely devoted to its completion. Maybe it is because, unlike with other aspects of life, the problem of the jigsaw puzzle can be worked out to a positive result by simply devoting a little time and effort. Unfortunately, my devotion is often attached to other things as well. It is Monday night, the Mormon Jum`ah. Unless I can convince the rest of the family to help finish the puzzle, it looks like I’ll be teaching a Family Home Evening lesson tonight. The topic is probably going to be on the Sabbath Day. That or devotion to a cause, no matter how hopeless it may be.


Rob & Michelle Eberly Family said...

So . . .did you finish the puzzle?

Cameron said...

If that is a philosophical question, the answer is no. If it is literal, the answer is also no.

Kara Thacker said...

Hoping you blog again soon, you are the best source of real entertainment I have! Sorry it seems to be at your expense...