Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

Sunday Rest?

Just because Mrs. E. is on what she refers to as “welfare”, i.e. being paid whilst on summer break, and I’m working from home most days doesn’t mean that we’re lolling about in our pyjamas eating bon-bons. Our children make sure that we get up early enough and our friends make sure that we stay up late enough that I feel as if we are in a state of perpetual motion.

Sunday afforded me a bit of relief, not the entire day mind you (Mrs. E. has projects which need tending to), to reflect on the tradition of the “day of rest.” I’m envious of at least two “traditional” ways to spend a quiet Sunday.

I don’t subscribe to a paper anymore, but I have fallen behind on my magazine reading. Yesterday I had a chance to lie on the couch in the bar, Bill Evans playing on Pandora, and read the latest issue of Garden & Gun cover to cover. Most enjoyable. The Rector of my church spends every Father’s Day (it’s his gift from his wife and children) reading the New York Times Sunday Edition, cover to cover. Reading first thing is a very leisurely way to start a morning. Especially if there is no television blaring somewhere in the background. I’m going to try to do more of it.

I didn’t grow up this way. Well, the odd Thanksgiving or Easter if we were back in the States. Most of the time, it was just the three of us gathered around the table. By the time I was in high school, the small TV was tuned to the nightly news and we ate at the oak drop leaf in the kitchen. Now, with children of my own, I do prefer the idea of the Sunday Supper. An early evening meal with all the trimmings sounds really appealing. Not that my children eat much of anything — their diet is appallingly one-dimensional — and their conversation lately centers around “Angry Birds”, thanks to a recent encounter with a distant cousin. But that relatively quiet gathering has something that is lacking in the “constantly on” lives that we lead.

Sure Rockwell is painting an ideal, but I don’t think it was that far from the truth. At least during his lifetime.

Do you have any calming Sunday traditions? Or has the day of rest become one more free day to get things done before the start of the work week?

7 thoughts on “Sunday Rest?

  1. I love a Sunday with no rushing around involved, it is a luxury though!!

    That is our family at the holidays as we are a huge group!!


    Art by Karena

  2. Sunday is by far my longest day. Thats another story.
    I do think family time around a dinner table, sans television, is a joy. Wait… strike that, arguing about vegetables and how suddenly one of them no longer likes roast is by no means enjoyable. I will say it is fundamental to a family remaining a unit.

    There are so few means left for this group to really know each other.

  3. There’s a great series in the Metro section of the Sunday NY Times on how New Yorkers spend their Sundays. Some great ideas not to mention under the radar restaurants can be picked up.

  4. I try to have friends over for an old fashioned “Sunday Dinner” about once a month. It is doable, but sometimes difficult to find people who don’t have a million other commitments, even on the “day of rest.”

  5. Cliche as it may sound, my day and week really do get off to a better start if I attend church on Sunday mornings. We are blessed with a beautiful cathedral, a fine choir, the occasional brass or string ensemble, but most importantly, a priest who actually plans sermons around the bible and bible passages according to the liturgical calendar. It really brings me peace and perspective, not to mention time to actually pray (which no one really has time for any more). No political or social rants from the pulpit–thank you, God! We enjoy a walk with the dog, grilling bacon poolside for breakfast or BLT’s, fixing a special cocktail and sitting on the back porch with G&G or a home decorating book–my my idea of leisure on a Sunday. Or a spin on the Vespa–

  6. Pretty soon your kids will be the ones staying up late AND sleeping late! Since that is the case for us, I love my quiet Sunday mornings. At some point my daughter wakes up, my wasband comes over, and we decide what to do. For us, it’s better not to have a Sunday obligation, set to a certain time. Sometimes friends, (even dates) join us, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we eat out and sometimes I cook. But Sundays are a special, peaceful place in our week.

  7. Great post. Our Sundays always seem to get away from us. I’ve noticed though that weekends are more relaxing and seem to last longer if we stretch out Friday night by doing something fun, and stretch out Sunday by doing very little.

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