When I was a teenager, my parents bought a motor home for fishing getaways. When you are a teenager, you don’t necessarily like to get away with the family. You want to hang out with your friends on the weekends. So there were too many times I went begrudgingly as required. Being a bookworm, I had plenty of reading materials with me as I was not going to touch those slimy, smelly fish. So I spent most of the trips with one eye on the book page and the other on my younger siblings I was supposed to help out with. Later, when I was a young adult, my parents bought a cabin in Seward and a boat for fishing in Resurrection Bay. By then I realized maybe getting away to enjoy the Alaska wilderness with family had its merits. I even occasionally tried my hand at fishing; of course I had my father or husband take the fish off the hook, but I did bravely wash off the scales and cook them. My husband and his family enjoyed camping and fishing as well; I finally found myself enjoying the outdoors – in the summer. The one time I was dragged out ice fishing (back to the reluctant teenage days) my Dad drove the motorhome out on lake ice, much to my terror. It’s common practice with ice fishing to drive out on the ice once it reaches around a foot thick, though the risk of falling through is still a possibility, however remote. I completely took I Thessalonians 5:16 to heart that day, praying continually for hours until the motorhome lumbered back on to shore.
In the mid-80s, my life crashed along with Alaska’s oil-based economy. A devastating divorce furthered my own spiraling financial disaster, so after losing my husband, I lost my home and my job. And while they did what they could to help, my parents had also lost everything – their businesses, motorhome, cabin, boat, and residential home. Grateful I had uncontested full custody of my two small children, I knew I needed to improve my employment options for our livelihood. With funds supplied by the grace of God, I earned a college degree during that troubled time. As for enjoying the Alaskan outdoors, I wasn’t brave enough to go it alone, so those times were over. I have been out on Resurrection Bay a time or two since for specific occasions though, and still enjoyed the quietness on the water, and the sheer massiveness of the wilderness.
Now that the difficult, rewarding job of raising my children is done and I have a well-established career in Finance, I am stepping up my efforts in pursuit of my long shelved writing goals. Yet its proving more of a challenge than I thought; and the less time I have for it, the more I wish I could get away from the bustle of life like I did in those days of book reading in the motorhome while the younger kids fished the Little Su with Dad, or when I floated peacefully about Kepler Lake in the summer sun, trailing corn down into warm water and wondering if fish actually liked vegetables. Now I would like to get away to a rustic cabin on a lake, or a luxury cabin on a leisure cruise, or an airline cabin on the way to Hawaii, temporarily leaving all the daily pressures and problems behind for some much needed rest, renewal and revelation.
However, since a cabin escape is currently not an option, I still need to obtain that place of quiet and rest. God states many times in the Bible that this is necessary: after Creation He rested on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2), the 4th Commandment provides for Sabbath rest (Exodus 20:8), and Jesus often went to solitary places for quiet prayer, the most important time being in the garden of Gethsemane before his arrest (Matthew 26:36-46). Additionally, he stressed this to his disciples. In Mark 6:6-13, Jesus sent his disciples out to preach. Upon their return, Mark 6:30-31 says ‘The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”’ The Lord knows the hectic schedules we keep, and with the holidays upon us, the pace only increases. Resist amping up the pace; instead find your quiet ‘cabin’ and go with Jesus for a time of rest, renewal and revelation. And while you are there, I encourage you to reflect upon his birth, and let it affect you anew.