I have always loved a Sunday morning run. It is quieter on the roads and a perfect day to go long. It even seems appropriate given that it is the end of the week (or the beginning, whichever way you think about it). It’s a time to gather myself and mentally prepare for the week ahead. It’s also a great way to start the week off “on the right foot”!
However, not long ago I realized that it also presented a dilemma. As a child, my mother always took us to church on Sunday. Now as a parent, we take our children to church on Sunday, too. This is no easy feat. Just a quick snapshot of our house on Sunday mornings before church reveals the chaos that can ensue as we try to find matching socks, clean khakis, and hairbands. James often remarks that we need to go to confession before we go to church because of all the stress involved in trying to get there on time! Seriously though, mass is an important part of our family’s weekly life and is considered “sacred” Sunday morning time.
Enter my dilemma. If I enjoyed the peace and quiet of a Sunday morning long run, I found that I was even more rushed and running crazy when I got home to help with the morning hustle to church. For a long time I continued to do both, fitting in a run and rushing to church, sometimes sweating under my clothes, even after a shower. One Sunday as I was madly pulling a brush through my five year-old’s hair on the way to church, I somehow remembered a quote of St. Augustine. He said, “We are restless till we rest in Thee.” As I thought about his words, I realized my own restlessness. On this particular morning, I had gone for a 10 mile run in the early dawn hours with a friend. Returning home, I had jumped into the hectic atmosphere of our Sunday morning routine, and it had been non-stop. Now, on the way to church I was frazzled, and wondering if I should have gone running at all. I was imagining a simpler morning…although it’s hard to picture anything simple about our mornings. And that’s when I decided that I wouldn’t run on Sunday mornings (unless we go to church at a later hour).
It is really a matter of focus, I guess. While most days a run or workout helps me to hone in on the things that I need to do the rest of the day; on Sundays it gets in the way of those things. We live in such a fast paced world, always moving from one thing to the next, and barely pausing to reflect and give thanks. If any day is meant for that, it is Sunday. In my life with 9 kids, I have had to become (by force, really), a multi-tasker extraordinaire. But now, at least on Sundays, I am attempting to be more single-minded. Since the day I thought about St. Augustine, I wake up on Sundays and try to be a little less hurried. Lost socks and missing shoes are still staples of Sunday mornings at the Hetzel home, but I know that’s okay. After all, our aim is not to have a perfectly peaceful home, but to rest peacefully in Him.
Here’s to a rest-filled Easter morning!