never been a fan of the three day weekend.
I suppose I liked them when I was in school, and a three day weekend meant
three days without school. And back in
another lifetime, when I was an employee, a day off work meant a day's less
work to do. But now I work for myself,
so there's really no such thing as a "day off" (or a weekend, or a "quitting
time.") The work is the work, and it all
has to get done.
about a week before Labor Day, or Memorial Day, or Martin Luther King Jr. Day,
I say to myself "Oh, I guess other people won't be working next Monday." Do I take the day off? After all, a typical three day weekend
holiday is not a real holiday like
Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving where my whole family gets together and we
make big meals and go to church together and all of that. It's just sort of a quasi-holiday – just
enough of a holiday to tempt single people to feel pathetic for not having any
any of you do this? "I wasn't invited
anywhere for Blah-Blah Day." So I stay
at home. I run errands. I clean my house. I work.
And, just once or twice during the day, I think about all of those other
people out there – all of those families and their wonderful barbeques and
softball games and spontaneous singing in four-part harmony or whatever it is
they do in their fabulous community-filled lives.
decided that this is a rather stupid way to live.
this year, I sent out an email to a handful of my friends. Basically I said "Anyone who is plan-less on
Labor Day, please come to my house and let's BBQ."
8 p.m. on Labor Day, and I just finished cleaning up. My house was full all day. Eight kids under six years old. Eleven adults, including my parents, my
brother, my sister and several of my best friends. It was a little bit chaotic, and it was
what? All of those families that I just
assumed were busy with their exciting lives? They had no plans either (for all
I know, they may have been secretly feeling just a little bit pathetic about
it, too), and had assumed that I was busy with my exciting, glamorous single
life. They were grateful for the invitation.
didn't do a lot of work. I bought a
bunch of burgers, a couple bags of Ore-Ida frozen fries, some beer and a box of
sangria. (Oddly, the boxed stuff is
pretty darned good!) I asked the others
to bring side dishes and desserts, and we had a feast.
need to do a lot more of this. And I
suspect many of you do, too.
single people tend to be guests more often that we're hosts. We don't think we're "equipped" to entertain
at home. We think "Why would a family
want to come to my house? I don't have a
big house or playroom or a bunch of toys."
Well, eight kids just spent an entire afternoon in my unfinished
basement. And based on the laughter we
heard, I think they were having a pretty good time. I'm not entirely sure what they were doing,
but I'm told that at least part of it involved killing spiders and making forts
with my old sofa cushions.
unfinished basement? Cramped walk-up
apartment? Invite people to the
park. Most cities have parks with
rentable picnic shelters, and the rates are cheap. (Next weekend I'm renting one that seats 80
people, and it's costing me 40 bucks.)
point is, we all need community. We're
made for it. John Paul II wrote about
the "communion of persons" that God created between Adam and Eve. We were created not to live lives of
isolation, but of interconnectedness.
The family is the "prototype" of the communion of persons – a group of
people who live not just for themselves, but for each other.
When we live
as singles, we don't have that built-in community. We have to create it. Just sitting at home and waiting for
invitations isn't enough. We have to
open our homes, and our lives, to those around us. We have to get into the mix. Once we do that, amazing things start to
I may even
start looking forward to three day weekends.