Monday, April 23, 2012

The Monday After Sunday: Sunday Niceness

Dear Friends,

It is that time of the week again...The Monday After Sunday!
This is the third week of hearing different perspectives from those individuals who have been privileged to sit and partake of a meal around the Crutchfield Family dining room table.

Once again, I was not able to be at the Crutchfield's for lunch.  However, this weekend Deborah C. and I were on a girls/mother/daughter youth retreat with the middle school and high school girls at our church!  Deborah works with the middle schoolers and I work with the high schoolers.  It was a truly incredible weekend!  We went to the beach, where it was mostly cloudy.  However, I was not upset by that in the least.  In fact, I really loved it!  It was restful.  We enjoyed great conversations, hilarious times, playing with hair, making journals, eating large amounts of delicious food, and really learning from God's word and what it means to be His daughter.

Anyway, like always, I enlisted the writing style of one of those in attendance at the Crutchfield Sunday lunch.  This person, who wishes to be left anonymous, wrote words that truly touched me.  I feel like I know them a little better now.  I hope you enjoy reliving Sunday lunch through this piece of writing:
Sunday Niceness
                Sunday has found new meaning in my life this past semester. The week comes with anxiety, depression, stress, and frustration, which are followed with feelings of hypocrisy and loneliness. A week that is full of homework, papers, endless studying; and sometimes lacking enough time to accomplish the tasks. A week for me is nothing short of hidden hurt and spiritual dryness that gets pushed down and is only seen deep behind a smile everyone gets. They are full of business, never enough time to deal with life’s problems and a lack of rest. I bear threw the weeks in hope of a better day, a day full of joy, time to face the realness of life I sometimes hide from. The weeks of this semester… have become a preparation for Sunday.
                Sunday’s waking is never giddy; all I want to really do is stay in bed and sleep. I think better of the thought and feelings that come with it. I get ready, and pull up to church, church number one: 10:00am. I take a deep breath thinking, “great time to put on my happy Christian face, so everyone thinks everything is ok,” which is a thought I think every day of the week. I tell myself, “this isn’t about you…. just go in.” The door man dressed casually, khakis and polo, usually with his wife, wearing a sundress of bright spring coloring. This marks my first joy, a nicely dressed couple’s greeting smile, serving the Lord together. I make my way to my usual seat, center column, middle of row, middle seat, surrounded with friends and familiar faces.
                Worship begins. I feel hypocritical of the words, so I begin to just pray, or watch everyone else worship. This marks my second joy of Sunday. The joy of seeing a group of people come together and worship the Lord, not that they are worthy, but someone has paid the debt owed. This is the reminder of the gospel and allows me to worship with the congregation. The sermon comes and goes, full of truth, conviction, joy, and a reminder of the gospel.
                11:15am. Church service number two. Not that I feel like I need to attend another, but the first I hold responsibilities too, and the second I absolutely plan on serving and worshiping in solely when the time comes. I pull up to the second church and let out a sigh, “a time of relief,” is my thought. I walk into the building and take my usual seat, back row, back right seat, sitting by nobody, and surrounded with half familiar faces and partly known people; a time that is full of rest and spiritual replenishment. A time focused on worship, prayer, confession, joy, and what He has done and less of what I am doing. The faces I do know: smiles full of sincerity, compassion, and words of understanding and grace. My heart begins to drop knowing that the week is coming, but to come is the highlight of the week, lunchtime!
                12:45pm. I pull up to the Crutchfield’s, a smile upon my face. I walk through the door, and smell the sweet scent of homemade cooking. I am welcomed with smiles and the embracing of a community of brothers and sisters in Christ. We gather to break bread, but the gesture comes with much laughter, and many stories. Mostly, I just make a fool of myself by telling embracing stories of things I have done or been through, and sometimes the unfortunate choice of wording can be taken out of context.  An few examples: Sunday niceness, a bunny costume, or shagging. This is a time where I can be me and take a break from the craziness of life. We follow with a remembrance of God’s goodness, movies, video games, walks, funny pictures, games, and just pure fellowship with one another.
                Past the laughter and food is a ministry to me, unknown to most at the table and of unknown proportions to all. The kind words uplift me, the laughter heals the pain temporarily, the rest and replenishment gets me through the next week, and the gesture brings me joy. It’s like God knows my pain and is using people, without them even knowing, to help get me through this tough time. It’s a reminder that I am not alone, community is with me.  It’s not that community is the answer, but that community points to The Answer.

Photo taken by: Normandy R.

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