The mad dash: Sunday mornings and vacations | Mark’s Remarks

marksI have always thought that our routines on Sunday mornings or right before going on vacation would make a great episode of a sitcom. It could be called “Hurry Up and Relax” or “Speed it Up! God’s Expecting Us!”

We try so hard to be an organized, stress-free family. For a short time, we can actually pull it off. We plan things on Sunday evenings and if we are lucky, the plan works until around Tuesday evening. Then, life happens and the schedule changes and we resort to living by the seat of our pants.

Sunday mornings before church can be problematic at times. Yes, we have some serene Sabbath mornings in which we have laid out clothes, Bibles and quarterlies the night before. We have gotten up early enough to eat breakfast and make it to the car in time to get a seat on the pew before the service actually starts.

Still, many Sunday mornings are a little stressed. Someone can’t find shoes or someone forgot they had to be at church early. We don’t have milk for cereal or someone needs a shirt ironed. “What happened to the shirt you had on a minute ago?” we ask. “I didn’t like it,” they reply.

We load the car with very little time to spare. We race down the neighborhood street hoping there are no heathens walking the streets. We pray for green lights. We lecture. “How many times have I told you that we need to prepare better for Sunday mornings?” We try to erase the crabby looks on our faces as we exit the car and check to make sure the baby’s shoes aren’t mismatched.

We hit the door of the church with our halos a bit crooked and mussed. Look! It’s the Tullis family! “Good morning, how are you?” We are blessed beyond measure to have made it to church alive. Thank goodness people are standing and greeting one another. We slip in. Whew. Thank you, Lord.

It’s funny that preparing for vacation is somewhat like Sunday morning. I mean, how hard can it be to prepare? Very hard.

Even if we have made lists weeks before, it seems there are always things we forgot about.

“Oh yeah, I need to call the eye doctor before we leave town. Shoot, the yard needs mowing. Who will water the plants? Did you call the library and renew the books? Does the basketball coach know we are going out of town? Who is picking up the mail? I forgot to write a column!”

I envision lists, an organized house, a clean and gassed up van, children who bound out of bed early, and everything running like a well-oiled machine.

I picture everyone scrubbed and clean loading the van early, ready to nap the entire time as we drive to our vacation destination. We leave a house that is all cleaned up and waiting for us to return. All of the plants have stored up a reserve and will be vibrant and healthy when we get back.

Pop goes the vision in my head. Although we remain pleasant as we get ready for the trip, there are plenty of things left in disarray. We will return to a house that is happy, yet a bit disheveled. We barely got all the calls made or lined up someone to get mail and water plants. Our van loading time is off by about 10 minutes. Whew.

But then suddenly, you realize that all is well. We have the important stuff taken care of. Everyone has clean underwear and toothbrushes. Even though we will return to some dirty laundry and dusty furniture, we will return refreshed and relaxed. We’ll be glad to be home.

Now, sit back everyone! Smile! Be happy! We are on vacation!

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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