Letters To Sunday-To Finding Them Again

This post, this blog, is four years in the making. I’ve hesitated. I’ve stalled. I’ve edited, re-wrote, deleted, stared at empty screens, scrawled out pages and pages in notebooks, abandoned notes in my cell phone, laid in bed at night for hours forming perfect sentences in my head that never find a permanent place in my memory or I fall asleep typing-my brain sprinting ahead of my ever disabled and disjointed body.

All of our lives we are infatuated with Fridays. I mean, as a kid, ABC launched a marketing campaign, "Thank Goodness It’s Friday" (TGIF). Of Course, The Cure’s song from the early 90’s reminds us that it’s “Friday I’m in Love.” Each week we anxiously wait for Friday to arrive, for the weekend to begin, and almost like our lives can resume- almost as if they’ve been on hold since Monday morning. However, there’s always been this thing about Sunday’s. They’re good but they’re also tainted. Bittersweet. Enjoy it...but know just around the corner Monday looms like a dark cloud. My siblings and I even started calling them the “Sunday Blues.”

But, I'm almost certain, we are not raised for a disdain towards Sundays. At least not Sunday mornings and afternoons because those normally include donuts or cinnamon rolls, Jesus, walks outside, and designated moments to get lost in the pages of another world (book nerd alert). It's a day that perfectly lends itself to a delightful and guilt free nap, perhaps a family meal, a ball game, the freedom to work on a creative endeavor or hobby, or even garden- gaining the satisfaction of working your hands into the ground- turning over soil and then eagerly and sometimes impatiently waiting to see what that afternoon might yield in the following weeks and months to come. If you’re lucky, it's conversations over bike rides and BBQ's, watching sports with your family, sitting down by the fire with tea or hot cocoa and one of your best friends (if they happen to even live within driving distance). Sundays could be your day of tradition, where you might always take a drive with your girls or your one and only. Never the same route crossed or perhaps journeys down old familiar roads. There are no rules, so you can stop on a dime, make a U-turn, spontaneously stick your head out the window to feel the fresh air, lick your salty lips, snap a thousand quick pics of the towering canopy of trees overhead or the sunset melting dramatically above.  Quite frankly, the drive might just be about a playlist that you need to share and the lyrics that you need to have someone else hear with you- through both the tears and the laughter. 

Sundays are full of possibility. Go to church and worship, stop at the farmers market, wear your cozies all day, if you have to choose a meal- then it most certainly should be brunch. Wear sweats and your tennies. Take a long shower, wash your hair, and THEN put on a baseball cap just because you haven't had a chance to wear one for awhile but not because your hair is dirty and you’re trying to hide it. Sit on some swings, lay in a hammock, build a fort, bury yourself beneath the covers- if only just to steal a few minutes with a flashlight, a magazine, and your daydreams. It’s Sunday. Not the end of the world. And for the record, I’m saying this to ME, even if you’re the one reading it, because I NEED to hear it.

Here’s the long and short of it, my world as I thought it would be, whatever we think that is, crumbled a long, long time ago. And It kept crumbling. The truth is, I’m sitting on top of ruins and not because I want to, but because I can’t get back up. Ten years ago. I had the word, “hope,” tattooed on my wrist because I believed with every fiber of my being that God was my hope. When I had that tattooed on my wrist, my story was already many worlds of messy and broken. Easily a trilogy could have been written, and like clock work, the day after that tattoo was placed, I was hospitalized for five days. Each day of that hospitalization, I would look down and remind myself of His presence. What I endured a decade ago feels like hopscotch in comparison to where I now lay and my tattoo? Well, it has faded substantially and unless you knew it was there, it’s hardly visible. My hope is not extinguished but my spirit is crushed and we will get to that. Another story, for another time.

Four years ago, Nate and I had just received the devastating news that I would never be able to have children, after trying since marriage to conceive. Later we would go on to find out that I was not a candidate for any fertility treatments (a very long and awfully devastating story). I would then go on to receive a hysterectomy that would leave my body permanently foreign to myself and eventually be diagnosed with a number of diseases that are incurable and have left me permanently disabled. However, four years ago with just the news of knowing I was barren we stood together in church on the evening of Good Friday while living in Washington and at the end of the service our Pastor got up and said in summary, “What’s great about Friday for us is that we know Sunday is coming. We can go through tonight and tomorrow and come Sunday morning we can rejoice and know that there is Victory and Death no more. However, what breaks my heart is that there are so many of us in this room that are living in a Friday world. Where you are depressed. Where things are constantly broken. Where you are broken and hopeless and filled with pain. Or you are living in a Saturday world. Where you are brooding, wondering what the future holds, or if it holds anything in store for you. Again, it just seems so desperate or hopeless. You are living in a world without Sundays.” Without looking at my husband, I knew this hit his heart like it had mine. Currently, we are living in a world without Sundays. I don’t know what God is doing in our story but I know God wants victory in our pain, in our brokenness, and in our defeat. I can tell you right now it hurts more than I thought possible and to see my husband’s pain through this will never be something I can bring to justice.

This is not my world as I thought it would be. In a moment of utter honesty, each week I feel like I’m living 7 days of insignificance. I didn’t expect to be on home healthcare, but this isn’t about benchmarks. It’s about the raw sanctity of life and really it’s never how we planned. If people are looking and they get a glimpse of my truth, oh well. Take a good hard look. It’s not anything like I imagined. And I’m guessing if we were in the lunch yard in elementary school you wouldn’t be trying to trade me a darn thing. But, here I am- I cry in the car when I’m driving alone, almost always in the shower, and sometimes when I catch my husband staring at a baby or playing with the kids at church.

It’s often that you might find me staring off somewhere or nowhere-out a window in the car, deeper into the colored wall of a room than may even exist, much farther and past where the clouds actually cover the sky, into the petals of a flower- never once the artistry lost on me, entranced by the lyrics and musicality of a song (unable to fully get “lost” in a song like so many people claim because each note and word evokes such emotion.) When asked what I’m thinking the easiest answer that comes to my lips is, “everything.” This is not my attempt to be vague or mysterious but to in fact be honest.

So without further ado this will be my valid attempt at everything. These will be letters of questions. Some rhetorical. Some that answers will never suffice. And some that aren’t supposed to, at least this side of Heaven. This will also be letters to heroes of mine-thanking them for their example, whether they will read the letters or know they exist-I suppose I will never know.  These acts of obedience will be letters to broken dreams, advice to a daughter or maybe a son I truly thought would one day exist, they will be laments, prayers that aren’t always beautifully arranged bouquets of words, acts of worship, and some days they will just be tears because I believe that being strong sometimes simply rests in the truth of letting us be weak so that we can be held. There will be tributes, lyrics, photographs, unsolicited advice, things that make my skin crawl, and break me. I can’t promise you’ll love it, you might hate it. What I can say, is my desire is for it to be real. I don’t know if every post will end full circle, conclude tied in a bow, and that there will be light at the end of every tunnel. But, I’m trying to blow back into the embers and to reignite the spark of hope. It may be almost faded from my wrist but God still writes to me in the sky, still speaks to me in scripture and song, I still brake on the side of the road and get out of my car for His beauty in flowers and nature, I find Him hiding in secret and yet ordinary places. So, this will be my ode to survival, to a Sunday kind of love. The only one I believe worth living for, even if I physically can’t get out of bed. My Letters to Sunday, as much as I love the weekends, I'm searching for Sunday.