Good Morning – And This is Sunday Morning – Dani Wendricks

As a child, I was obsessed with the news. When I would come home after school, I’d sit in front of the television and flip through the channels so that I could watch the news programming at 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00pm. If on the rare occasion my parents let me stay up late on a school night, I’d also enjoy the 9:00 or 10:00 program. My dream job was to be a Weatherwoman. I spent nearly the entirety of the news programming drawing my television ready outfits in my sketchbook. By the time I was maybe 13, I grew out of this phase, but I would still try to catch my favorite news program at 5:30pm with my mom whenever I could. 

 

When I neared the end of high school and entered college, my family and I less frequently made it to our church services. This opening on Sunday mornings allowed us to watch CBS Sunday Morning Show — an hour and a half slow-paced news program that focuses on covering the performing arts and other unique and happier news angles. My mom has a special attachment to this show as she grew up with this program in her house. As we sat in our pajamas, we joked that perhaps we had found our new type of church. The show brought us a sense of peace, community, and shared values, something we sought out in our spiritual lives.

 

When I left to study abroad in Denmark this past January, I managed quite well without getting too homesick, but I did miss my local news anchors a bit. There were a few occasions where I was tired after a long bike ride home from Danish school, and nothing sounded nicer than cozying up on my parents’ couch with a cup of tea and the news. So when the coronavirus pandemic suddenly sent me home in March, I thought at least I could enjoy some news back home.

 

The first Sunday after I had arrived back home, I looked forward to watching the program despite being in a two week quarantine in my childhood bedroom. As the show began, my mom and I quickly realized it was a rerun. With the frenzy of the nation locking down, they hadn’t yet figured out a way to air a live socially distant safe program.

 

My mom stated, “Wow…The world must really be ending if this show isn’t running.”

 

Luckily, the next week the show resumed, and the world is still spinning six months later. As I’ve tried to settle into my senior year of college amidst a time of great uncertainty, I’ve found a sense of centering and peace with the CBS Sunday Morning Show. While everything in my life feels overwhelming, this hour and a half television show keeps me grounded. I find solace in the calming background music, segments on kind-hearted people adopting puppies, healthcare workers being recognized for their heroic work, snippets of nature scenery, honors to notable people who have recently passed away, and historical insight on modern day creations. This coupled with the nostalgia of my childhood and family brings me a sense of immense joy and inspiration to start my week, something that I used to seek out during my Sunday church services.

 

My religious identity is in flux, as I’m not totally sure what religion or spirituality fully encompasses my values and morals. I believe that we must honor our Earth and protect her at all costs, celebrate the good things in life, provide acts of service and kindness to those around us, seek to better understand our community members, and be aware and educated on societal issues and strive for equitable social change. I find this represented well in my favorite television program.

 

Is there something in your life that you have a religious relationship with that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with religion? Where do you see your values being represented?

6 thoughts on “Good Morning – And This is Sunday Morning – Dani Wendricks”

  1. Hi Dani, I loved reading your post, especially because the CBS Sunday Morning Show is a favorite in my house as well. I appreciate the positive undertone that the show has since most news programs are so negative. For me, and likely for many others, I often find myself grounding my values in ideas about what type of policies and legislation I believe should be in place. Politics, however, often seems so tangled up with religion for many people. I suppose even I like to think that my religious values — service, compassion, generosity, dignity and worth of all individuals — align with my political values. But I often see the “claiming” of the Christian faith by one political party in particular. That trend sometimes leads me to focus on values relating to my political views rather than my religious views. I would say my particular fervency for politics borders on a religious relationship. I am more outspoken about my political views and I spend more time talking to people about policy than religion. I think this is because I tend to find more common ground with others in political circles than I do at Sunday church service.

  2. Hi Dani,

    There’s a few podcasts I listen to regularly that I’ve stuck with over the years because, like you said, I see my values represented in them. (I’d rather not share). I think it’s good that you’ve found something comforting; especially these days there’s a lot of negativity in media.

  3. Hi Dani,
    I would say anything to do with psychology and therapy I love reading about and listening to. I see my values of growth, learning, and understanding myself better shown in this field. Also, I love the field as it is about helping others. I loved hearing about your point of view about what brings you comfort and what you lean on during this time.

  4. Hello, Dani! Thank you for your comments. I would have to say that physical fitness is a large part of my life that fills many of the roles you described. Physical training helps me to destress, focus, feel peace, and practice many of the values that are meaningful to me.

  5. Hi Dani, I really enjoyed reading your blog post! I relate really well to watching the news – a staple of my childhood was coming home after a long day of school and watching a cartoon TV show followed by the news for the rest of the evening. Because of this, I was very aware of what was going on in our country and world. When I watch the news in college (way less than I used to), I find myself feeling a sense of comfort and it brings up feelings of nostalgia just as you have experienced! I took a religious studies course last year where we talked about religious actions of non-religious people. Specifically, many people do not follow a specific religion but still have religious actions such as rituals or express spirituality. I thought this related to your blog post as you mention not knowing what religion encompasses your values but still feeling as though watching this show was the new type of church for your family! Personally, there are many religious things that I do that I don’t normally associate with my religion. For example, I often find a need to center myself upon moving to a new location and setting up items that remind of positive memories of the past, and I do this every time I move to a new living location. Furthermore, I love to walk outside and normally find the time on these walks to practice gratitude. I would say I do this pretty religiously. I find that for the most part, my values are represented in my faith of Sikhi. I think that because my values are emphasized in Sikhi (selflessly helping others also known as seva, seeing all creatures and human beings as one and equal), I have grown closer to my religion over the years. Before I took the time to get to know what values my faith stood for, I was not as close to Sikhi and grew rather distant from it for a period of time in high school. Now that I better understand my values and find that they are represented in Sikhi, I have grown closer to my faith. Thank you for your comments and post Dani!

  6. Hi Dani!

    This was such an interesting blog post! I like how you embrace that there is another thing in your life that can provide you with the kind of calm and peacefulness that you might get out of church without having to feel guilty about it, or like you are picking sides. I think for me Lake Michigan is kind of like that. I think I feel all of the spiritual sort of feelings that I’m supposed to be getting out of synagogue (but don’t end up getting a lot of the time, if I’m being honest) when I’m by the Lake in Milwaukee. Sometimes G-d feels a lot more present in nature than in any sort of house of worship or place created by people in a formal religious setting.

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