I am thankful for my in-laws and trips to their cabin in remote Alaska. When we lived in Fairbanks years ago, we would drive two hours from Fairbanks and then drive two hours by jet boat to get to the cabin. It is remote. A couple years ago my wife and I inherited the cabin and now take friends and family to it for a time of rest. At the time you read this I will be there.
It is difficult to describe the experience of “going to the cabin.” There are always family and/or friends along for the experience. There is the fly fishing in crystal clear water. There are the evenings sitting on the river bank with a fire in the pit and the sound of the river. There are card games and telling stories. You feel like you have been to a mental “spa” when you leave.
I think most Alaskans understand the need to get out of town and enjoy our beautiful state. It is just so difficult to find the time in our busy short summers. Americans in general get less vacation time than most developed countries — google it. This in turn affects our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Our busy schedules also affect our relationships with friends and family. Lest I sound to “preachy,” it’s fair to note that preachers are probably the most guilty of not taking time off work to rest.
What does the Bible say about taking vacation time or time to rest? It actually says quite a bit. In the creation account in the Bible, God rests on the seventh day, after a busy six-day work week. The only part of the Bible God wrote with his own hand was on stone tablets and we know them as the Ten Commandments. One of them is to take a day of mental, spiritual, and physical rest. Jesus, during an especially busy time said to his disciples, “’Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (ESV Mark 6:31).
When we think about the best times we have in life, we don’t think about long work days, we think of vacation time spent with family and friends and the wonderful memories that we cherish. We also can take an hour for spiritual rest with God and others in one of our many churches in the area. Maybe take a relaxing ride out Funny River Road and visit me?
Written by Rev. Andy Carlson M.Div. Pastor Carlson grew up with 22 siblings in a log cabin in the backwoods of Alaska (120 miles from the Arctic Circle). He has served 23 years in the parish (five of those years were as a Navy/Marine chaplain). He is a Gulf War Veteran. He has served Funny River Community Lutheran Church since 2015. Sunday services are at 11 a.m., followed by a lunch that everyone is invited to. The church is located at 15 mile Funny River Road. (Take a right on Rabbit Run and go a 1/4 mile to the church). The church website is www.funnyriverlutheran.org.
• Written by Rev. Andy Carlson M.Div.