Sunday, February 01, 2009

Testimony: Sabbath

I was thinking today that I’m pretty blessed to have the testimonies that I do. I say testimonies because I believe we have testimonies of different thing, or different aspects of the gospel, and then we choose (or choose not) to take the rest on faith. I’m grateful for the things I know, and wish there were more of them, but I decided long ago that faith means acting as if I knew the things I was acting on were true, and I committed to living a life of faith. So I’m not bothered by the things I don’t know. Still, I’m grateful for the ones I do. I’d like to make more of an effort to talk about those things here.

So today I want to tell you that I have a testimony of the Sabbath. And because of this, I am extremely grateful for Sabbaths. Sunday is my favorite day of the week and I always consider it a fantastic blessing.

I’m trying to figure out where and when I got this testimony. Like most things, it didn’t really come all at once. My parents helped it by always holding Sunday different from other days. The specifics don’t matter that much—we didn’t spend money or play outside and we kept our church clothes on and we always went to church. Other than that, pretty much anything went. But the fact that it was different from the beginning really jump-started my ability to live it and then gain a testimony of it. One thing that Sunday was specifically for was visiting relatives, and this was always such a fun thing that of course the day began to have positive connotations. We also baked a lot on Sundays, a sort of recreational “family togetherness” kind of baking, which made the day positive.

In college during the years when I was deciding how much to turn my background in the gospel into a living testimony of my own, I experimented with the Sabbath. I remember when I made it a goal to never do homework on Sunday. It made things tricky and more than once I got up quite early on Monday mornings to finish assignments but there was NO DENYING that I was clearly and greatly blessed for this decision. Because I saved letter-writing and journal-writing, church lesson and calling preparation for Sundays, I never had to worry about doing those things on the other days, and they didn’t weigh on me. And I somehow managed to pull through on my schoolwork. (It’s a lot like tithing, I guess.)

Even now, I keep my reading and studying different on Sundays than on other days. As tempting as that novel that I’m in the middle of looks, I don’t pick it up on Sundays. That doesn’t mean that I read only scriptures. I read other more spiritual stuff, such as philosophy and behavior ethics (The Bonds that Make Us Free), church history, Meditation for Dummies, and other nonfiction inspirational (hate that word!) stuff. It doesn’t matter so much to me where I draw the line as the fact that there is a line. Sunday is different. It feels good that way.

The time I knew I had truly gained a testimony of the Sabbath, though, was a Sunday morning when R and I were driving across town to attend a missionary farewell. The streets were Sunday-empty but there were still people out doing their normal stuff. We passed a store like Shopko and I saw some people heading in, in their normal clothes, and what I felt for them was an overwhelming pity. They had no idea that Sunday was special. For them, it was just another day to do errands, and I felt such a sense of loss for them, that they didn’t have the chance to have this one different day that doing errands was simply not an option.

It’s like when someone gives you money for your birthday: you can stick it in with the rest of your money in your wallet or checking account, and then it’ll get spent on whatever you were going to spend money on anyway—or you can set it aside in a special place and spend it on something you wouldn’t normally have done. If you do the first choice, you’ll never remember a month later where your birthday money went. For me, Sunday is the special birthday money, the day that stands apart and gets spent on extra stuff.

Of course, closely related is my love of church, but that’s another post for another day.
Anyway, I love Sundays. They are nothing but a blessing to me, and I’m grateful.


Anonymous said...

My left hand is sticky (from eating some Sabbath lime bars) so I'll just use my right hand to type: Amen!

Michelle said...

I love this-- esp the birthday money part. You've inspired me to spend my Sunday on something special.

xoxo, m

jenlinmin said...

My thoughts exactly, only written much more eloquently! Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy is my favorite commandment (right after Love One Another, of course).