Is it just me, or is Sunday evening a melancholy time for other people, too? There's the obvious fact that the weekend is ending, and tomorrow we will be back to school or work or just the normal routine of life. But it seems that there's more to it than that, a bittersweetness that I feel even when I'm on vacation, that after-Sunday-night-church wistfulness. As though I could have squeezed more out of the weekend than I did, and now the opportunity is gone for another week.
Today I spent the day in bed, sick, and I'm worrying about whether I will be well enough to teach tomorrow; I'm planning to, but worrying anyway. That adds to the slightly glum feeling of this evening.
I remember when I was a child, sometimes on Sunday night we would sing people's choices of hymns. I would carefully choose one, and wave my hand to ask for it, and sometimes I would get called on and sometimes not. I remember being so little that I had to stand on the pew so that the person in the pulpit would see me. I remember standing on the stairs after the service, shivering in the dark, while my parents talked to everyone.
I remember in boarding school, the weeks we would have evening chapel, and how we would always sing "Abide With Me," and how I would focus on the words "fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide." I remember praying that He would abide, and somehow He always did. I remember stepping out of the little wooden chapel into the night, and the brightness of the stars in those Kenyan highlands, brighter than they have ever been since. I remember drinking hot cocoa before going back to our dorm.
I remember the cold, lonely rush to the cafeteria in college, after changing into a skirt (at my conservative Christian college we weren't allowed to go to the cafeteria in sweatpants on Sunday night, and sweatpants were what I had inevitably been wearing in the dorm). I remember looking for a friendly face, someone who would beckon me over and say, "Sit with me!"
Sunday night, an in-between time. It's not really the weekend any more, and it's not the bustling week yet, but we can't stay up late because we have to get up in the morning. I'm reminding the kids about backpacks and P.E. clothes, and I'm looking ruefully at tomorrow's schedule and wondering how I will do it all. I didn't get to choose a hymn tonight. Fast falls the eventide. Sit with me, abide with me, while Sunday dies away.
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