This past Sunday (yesterday to me, probably not to you) was one of the nicest Sundays I have had all summer. Sundays are already great, sleeping in, going to church, having a nice lunch, and then usually being lazy the remainder of the day (it is a day of rest, of course :P). However, yesterday was even more special. After attending Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi, which was absolutely beautiful, and lunch with my mom, we did something I haven’t done in years, we went out to the lake for the day with my aunts and uncles. We sat and talked and ate fish and just enjoyed the day, before packing up and heading home. On the ride home along the miles of twisting roads, trees, and sunshine, I was immediately brought back to my childhood and had a realization. I would be no where near the person I am today without Sundays just like this one. I truly believe that my entire personality, beliefs, dreams, and so on have been completely shaped by Sundays. Let me explain. (:
Growing up, every Sunday was the same. Wake up, church, lake. Every Sunday. I am part of a huuuuuge family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I remember being young and not even being able to sit still I was so excited for the priest to say the closing words so I could race out to the car, which always headed straight to Walmart, pick out my swimming snack, run home and put on a swimsuit, and go straight to the lake. Before 1 o’clock even hit, my fingers were pruned. I only left that water if I was getting on a boat to go for a cruise around the lake. The snacks were even in the water with me so I could swim as much as possible! (Over the years, I realized Twizzlers were the best choice: I could jump in and not have to worry about them getting soggy or going underwater). Anyways, I would swim, swim, swim, listen to my cousins talking, listen to my aunts and uncles talking, meet people from around the lake, cry when anyone dunked me, jump off the dock countless times, and before I knew it, my parents were telling me to pack my stuff up so we could hit the road. The ride home was always so peaceful and relaxing, falling asleep to all the couple’s requests on the radio, then being carried in the house and put in my bed. Most people complain, but I loved the feeling of sleeping in my swimsuit, still warm from the sun. I would wake up the next morning, already counting down to the next time I could go to the lake.
It seems like a regular Sunday ritual, but I can’t believe how much those days have shaped me. Those church services over the years, building my faith little by little, forming me into the believer I am today, giving me the passion I have for the church and the constant craving to know more. The change in priests over the years, each one teaching me something new. You know, those Sunday masses started out a little boring as a child, but as I grew and learned, they exponentially grew in their value and meaning. Those countless hours of swimming, exploring the lake, learning new tricks, growing stronger every Sunday until I could swim all the way across the cove. I like to think those hours have taught me the dedication and strength I have today, along with my love of swimming still. Those moments underwater where I knew I could go when I needed some peace and quiet from my rowdy family, or some time to think or talk to God. The conversations I had with family members of every age, words of wisdom from aunts and uncles, lessons on growing older from my cousins, words of encouragement from anyone watching my jumps, and so on. The boat rides around the lake that led to dreams of one day having a nice, cozy home on the lake, waving to fellow boaters everyday, watching the lake ice over in the winter and thaw out in the spring. Meeting strangers my family knew, finding friends from school at the most random times, and stopping just to jump off the top deck of someone’s lot. Watching the sun go down as we ate dinner, talking about family and friends who have passed on and memories from years ago, as I listen and laugh. Just sitting and thinking as I stared out the window on the ride home, listening to the love songs, hoping one day I would be able to experience that. Laying in bed, thankful for the day and everything it involved, especially thankful for the leftover desserts everyone sent home with each other. Those Sundays cannot even be summed up in words.
Looking back, I can’t even imagine where I would be without those defining moments on a Sunday. How different my faith, dreams, expectations, outlook, and so on, would be. It breaks my heart that those days have ended, that my days look different now. It’s bittersweet, as I still try to navigate through this life, accepting what God throws at me on a daily basis, never knowing what is in store, not having the certainty of what a Sunday has in store anymore. I have grown older, but those Sundays are still within me, guiding me, influencing me. I know they will never leave, and I pray I never forget them. I am in a period of my life where I am just kind of waiting and seeing what is going to happen, where this road takes me. It isn’t my ideal situation, but I am thankful for the memories of past Sundays, and the excitement of the Sundays & Mondays & Tuesdays, etc. to come. I have learned that God is always working, always there, in the water, in the sun, in church, in the people around me, everywhere. I think sometimes, we just don’t see Him until later, and He still manages to take our breath away. (: Look for God in your everydays. He is there, doing some incredible things.