Sunday, January 9, 2011

overcoming the long dark teatime of the soul

I typically hate Sundays. They're always the worst days of the week for me, days when I feel the most tired, the most lonely, the most bored. Maybe it's because I have high expectations for them, or maybe it's more psychological and goes back to the times when I worked Saturday nights until 6 AM and still managed to get up by 11 to go to church. I usually managed church ok, but Sunday evenings just killed me. I don't think I ever really shook that feeling. Also, I often got frustrated, years after I quit that job, when I would want to hang out with people on Sundays and they would all be napping in the afternoon when I never could nap. Maybe that made me bitter.

I'm sure most of you have heard me complain about Sundays before, and I'm sure many of you have heard this quote, which is one of my favorite quotes of all time. It's from Douglas Adams' Life, the Universe and Everything and it describes my Sunday afternoons perfectly:

In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you’ve taken all the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o’clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul.
I remember the day I read this. It was a Sunday, believe it or not, and I had just taken a bath (the second of the day) and decided that maybe I would just read to try to pass away the rest of the afternoon. I almost fell out of my chair when I came across this passage.

This isn't the first time I've ranted about how much I hate Sundays and it probably won't be the last. However, today was one of those rare nice Sundays. It wasn't the best Sunday I ever had, but it also wasn't the typical Sunday where all I want to do is stab my eyes out because I'm so desperately bored. Since I had been so lazy yesterday, I decided to go for a walk this morning. The sun was shining and it was such a lovely day out. I walked around my neighborhood, which isn't the most interesting place in the world, but I found a few lovely spots to stand and enjoy the sun. When I got back home I felt good and I was actually excited to go to church.

Church went well; we talked about some wonderful principles, about faith and temples, and I felt renewed and ready for my week, and I even did
an uncharacteristic thing and stuck around after the meetings to chat with people. I found out that some were going over to St. Paul's to attend a service and since I had been thinking of doing just that thing earlier today I decided I would tag along. It was quite a nice service, and the church is just utterly amazing. Even the little sermon was quite nice and made me think of Christ and my relationship to God. I love learning and feeling the spirit in other churches; it helps me appreciate my own beliefs and religious practices.

Then I came home and talked with my family, watched a little Top Gear, and skyped with my best friend. And now it's nearly time for bed and I never once fell into that horrid long dark teatime of the soul.

I honestly think that the fact that I forced myself to be a little more laid back and take my time after church to talk to people really made all the difference. I think the thing I hate most about Sundays is being alone. I feel like Sundays are meant for people, to relax and talk and enjoy the company and good conversation of friends and family. I do believe they are sacred days, but when they are spent alone, watching telly, being bored, Sundays just awful. So, I hope that Sundays like today will be characteristic of my future Sundays, and I'm going to put a little more effort into making them special like I want them to be.


  1. I just watched an interview with a famous person (who I can't remember). Probably an actress. She said she also hated Sundays. She got married and had a baby and now Sunday is her favorite day. I wish I could remember who it was. She said the same thing you said. It is boring to spend it alone. I'm glad you stayed after church and visited with people. It sounds like that makes a big difference. If that doesn't work, you should get married and have a baby!

  2. i used to hate sundays as a child but now I love them! i'm usually running around like a crazy person the rest of the week and on sundays I really enjoy having the time to relax, watch online tv, nap, talk to the family for a while, etc. i always look forward to sundays.