I think I understand the conundrum of the recently retired… Suddenly, after years of a working person’s schedule, to have nothing to do, no demands, no requirements, is a shock to the system. Sundays feel that way.
Maybe it’s because for SO long our Sundays were run on tight schedules, with plenty of obligations and expectations. Get up (early, compared to the rest of the week) and get the household fed, cleaned, dressed, and prepped for the drive to church.
Sometimes church was a worshipful, holy experience, imbued by the glorious presence of God. Sometimes—just being honest, here—it was not. Sometimes it was boring. Sometimes it was awkward. And sometimes I just gritted my teeth and waited for the service to be over so I could go home, curl up in my bed, and cry myself to sleep because it was all so desperately difficult. (Be nice to your pastor’s wife… It’s her job to make it all seem easy and smooth… like a ballerina whose toes are bleeding in her shoes while she’s onstage.)
After church, there was lunch to prepare. Then clean-up. Then change out of “Sunday” clothes (Want to know why we have “church clothes”? More on that in a future post.). For many years there was also an evening church service to attend, which involved another round of feeding, cleaning, dressing, and prepping, and another drive to and from. Then returning home to tuck everyone into bed and get ready for Monday.
These days, Sunday is a lot less structured. With a continued desire to worship and pray, whether in a church service or at home, the lack of structure has suddenly made my Sunday worship experience (read: prayer/meditation/connection with God) disturbingly intense, scarily intimate, and alarmingly personal. And sometimes, that is really, really HARD.
If you are open to it, God will happily get right up in your business and talk to you, and it’s not always a pleasant, ego-affirming conversation. But it’s real. And it can’t be ignored or avoided… or covered over with a lot of busyness. And in my mind, THAT is worship, wherever and however, or on whatever day of the week it occurs.