When my husband and I were first married we lived in a parish house and took care of around 5 acre of grounds, a cemetery, and a small parish church. In exchange for our labors, we got to live in a large white 2 story 5 bedroom home rent free. It was really a fantastic set up. We got to get on our feet financially during our first year of marriage, and be surrounded by Catholic parishioners that were always eager to talk to the happily newly married couple. It was the support we needed. They got, well in my expertise, quality groundsman and an excellent cleaning lady.
Fast forward in the first year of marriage and we both were working full-time jobs in addition to our care-taking church responsibilities. I was now a good 7 months pregnant. Still not feeling well. I was sick the whole 9 months. My husband was burnt out trying to support a new family, balance life with his family and his own, and dreaming up our future.
It rained a considerable amount of time the week before memorial weekend, which meant the grass had also grown a considerably fair amount. There was a clearing in the weather to mow the large lawn and around 500 headstones.
You can tell a lot by how a person handles minor inconveniences. There is nothing quite like carefully mowing around what seemed, that day, to be endless rows of tombstones. I was tired and cranky all the while having controllable nausea. I just wanted to be done already. Well as luck would have it about half the cemetery was mowed prior to a heavy down pour. So, I got to go in and take a nice, relaxing hot bath.
The next day was Sunday. It was sunny. We had Mass that morning. By evening we had what seemed like half the parishioners upset with us. I get it. They seen it as a form of disrespect for their loved one’s grass not being cared for. Some seen it as an embarrassment. They didn’t seem to notice the struggles of weather we had that week.
We didn’t want to mow lawn on Sunday, the day of rest. I had grown up never working on Sunday and believed that was the way to follow the commandment. Was it a need to mow lawn that day? To this day I am not exactly sure of the correct answer. However, following the commandments can never be wrong. How do you rest? What do you fill your time up with when you do rest?
Not only was it a day of rest, we also didn’t want to disrupt the peace of people visiting all day by being a noucence with the lawn mower and trimmer. That too would have been disrespectful. The point being it really puts into perspective confusion when the church asks you to work on Sunday and also rest on Sunday. You can not devote the day to doing both.
I think we can work hard all week and rest on Sunday. Maybe that is just me. Maybe we have structured our lives in such a way that is counter to the culture. Speaking of which that reminds me on how Muslims take a day of rest. We may not agree on an enormous amount of things spiritually but they do a fantastic job of insisting that the culture allows their prayer and rest time. Why isn’t that the society norm? Your boss finds out you are a practicing Catholic, that means you do not have to work on Sunday. A schedule will be arranged for you to have a day of rest. So how do you rest on Sunday? Are there better ways to follow the commandment? Because it is a commandment that was sent by God for us.