|"The Cabin", as drawn by my Dad, William F. Mursch, circa 1939|
When I was just a little girl living on the farm in Pennsylvania, the highlight of each year was the annual corn roast at my grandparents' log cabin in the forest. My dad, grandfather, and uncles would all gather in fresh sweet corn from the fields and carry it over to "The Cabin", as it was affectionately called, for a family reunion. All the cousins, aunts, uncles, great uncles and great aunts, and grandparents would come together for a day of feasting and celebration. We children would play hide and go seek, climb trees, swing on the swing, eat, and see what kind of mischief we could get into. It was the kind of day in which happy family memories are made.
Unfortunately, "The Cabin" was sold to another family when my grandparents retired and moved to Florida and the family clan dispersed to various distant parts of the country. But the sights, sounds and smells of those happy days have lingered in my mind for all these years. When I grew up and got married, I told my husband that if we ever had an opportunity to do so, we would have a log cabin or home to share with our family and friends in the same way that my grandparents had done.
|A Birdhouse Model of "The Cabin", built by my son|
Throughout our years of serving in the ministry we not only personally experienced, but also witnessed among our colleagues a real need for a "haven of rest" or a place of refuge from the stresses and strains of life in the "goldfish bowl" of the parsonage. Many dedicated servants of God suffer greatly from "burn-out" and have even had to leave the ministry because of the overload of stress on their families and homes. Oftentimes the course they decided to take could have been changed if they had only had an opportunity to get away from it all for a little while for a refreshing vacation. Unfortunately, most ministers live on a very strict budget and are unable to afford a Disney vacation or even a week at the ocean or the mountains or a cruise to the Bahamas. The only vacation most clergy families get might be a trip to visit the relatives in another state, which is hardly ever relaxing or restful!
It has long been our desire to provide such a place of refuge for those who need it the most; a "home away from home" where a worn out pastor and his wife and family could rest and read and walk and talk and relax in whatever way they found helpful. A place where the telephone (including cell phone, laptop) and the television would not get in the way of their time of communing with God and with each other. Nothing could make us happier than to be able to hand a haggard looking minister and his equally exhausted wife the keys to our home and tell them to just "enjoy"! We know from experience what a blessing even just a few days away from the pressures of a busy ministry can be in the life of the pastor and his family.
A further area of need we personally have experienced is that of the family who has been through traumatic illness or injury. Quite a few years ago now, our eighteen year-old son was diagnosed with having a brain tumor. Fortunately for him, his was not a malignant tumor, but the ordeal of major brain surgery and consequent changes in lifestyle for our son and for us, along with the accumulated medical bills, added more stresses to an already overstressed home. We were so blessed in that our son survived and went on to get married and have a son and a happy, productive life. However, just recently he has been diagnosed with another form of cancer, and is going through chemotherapy and all the misery and uncertainty that goes along with that. Even though he has a strong marriage and family support, this is a very traumatic time in their lives.** Oftentimes following such a difficult experience, many families simply break up. They can't cope with the sorrow and pain. I know from our own experience that there were many times when we really needed to get away from it all and have some time alone to cry, pray, think, and hope. However, when faced with insurmountable medical bills and other expenses adding up daily, how could we even think of getting away? We were extremely thankful when some loving friends opened their vacation cottage to us and told us to "enjoy".
The one phrase that has stuck with me from my years of studying Spanish in high school is "Mi casa es su casa", which means, "My house is your house." I have so often wished that we could have such a place to share with others in this way; a home where the door would always be open for those who need to get away from it all. A cottage or a cabin or even a spare guest room, and a welcoming invitation... Even though we are now buying a home, it is rather small and not conducive to having a lot of company. However, I’m not giving up the dream...one of these days I do believe God will make a way possible for us to do exactly what we have dreamed of doing, and when He does, I hope you will be around to hear me say, “Mi casa es su casa,” Enjoy!!
Perhaps you have a such a place that could be a blessing to a family going through some kind of crisis, burn-out, or who just need a place to get away. Maybe God is speaking to you about sharing your home, cottage, cabin, timeshare, or even an RVwith someone for whom it could be a life-saver...or marriage saver! Think about it...pray about it...and if the idea could work...call your Pastor or someone you know and make the offer..."Mi Casa Es Su Casa"...Enjoy!!! It could be the best gift you ever gave.
**UPDATE 5/10/2018: An update regarding our son mentioned above when this was originally written...sadly our precious son passed away from his four year battle with cancer in 2014. The need for a place to rest and be ministered to was very real for us then, and still is today....and our dream is still to provide such a place for others going through this difficult time of sorrow. Our current home has a guest room, but we are still somewhat limited as to being able to make it available to others since we still have other family members living in our home. Still praying for that special little guest cabin to become a reality. Keep praying!!