Pictured here is sunset on the lake where my in-laws live. Just two-and-a-half hours north of us, Grandma and Grandpa's place has been a place of true rest for me. There is something about the water that settles my nerves, whether it's sunset-calm as pictured here or whether it's covered in ice and snow. Part of the relaxing, strange as it may sound, is that the family is with me. I love to be surrounded by them. I love to hear the children laughing and playing in the snow or in the sandbox or in the water. That is heavenly to me. To sit with my wife and watch the sunset on the lake, with the children tucked in bed, is heavenly.
I know that many churches give very little time off for their pastors, and I think that that is flat-out, certifiably, crazy. Pastors are always on call, and there's a certain stress level with that, even in a smaller parish. If you live in proximity to the parish, as I do, there are always additional things that blur the boundaries between family and working life. There are the knocks on the door from indigents looking for help (I literally had someone looking for food money ignore the "private" sign on the parsonage door and walk right into our living room not too long ago.). There are also the after-hours knocks on the door from parishioners to have someone let them in the church because they forgot their keys. Such things are usually not a bother, not a "big deal," but they do contribute to the overall atmosphere that family time is never fully family time when we are home. And, of course, there is the sense (analogous to any family-owned business) that you could always do more, more, more.
Pastors need rest. I am thankful that my parish knows me well enough not to be bothered when we take off on a Friday afternoon for the lake and come back after dinner on Saturday night, and I am thankful that I have such a restful place to go.