Ah, yes. It seems that winter is finally over.
“The flowers appear on the earth. The noise of the turtle is heard in the land. And the time of the singing of birds has come.” [Song of Solomon 2:11 & 12]
Each spring the feeling of coming out of hibernation is prevalent. Especially after the ice storms of this winter, all of Halifax County welcomes spring! After all, when the winter is (hopefully) over, and we’ve still got electricity, running water, food, shelter, love, and God, what else could a person desire?
Yet it seems that being content with our lot in life is not a new struggle. Why else would Readers Digest print a self-survey for readers to see how satisfied they are with their lives? I decided to complete it myself. I wanted to see how satisfied the survey would list me to be!
I won’t tell you my score, but suffice it to say that I’m in the happily adjusted group of folks who wouldn’t change a lot about their lives. Choosing to have a different life is not appealing to me. Oh, there are some things that I like to dream about. Some will become reality — and some are just that — dreams.
The other day, when I felt invigorated by the sights and sounds of spring, I’d been thinking how nice it would be to have that extra “when my ship comes in” cash. God set me straight.
He used my almost-seven-year-old to do it, too. I was sitting at the table sorting through the mail (including bills), waiting for him to finish his after-school snack of graham crackers and milk. He left his snack and came over to me, pushing his face between the paper and me.
“Mama,” he said, patting my shoulder in his usual manner, “I just have to ask you one thing.”
“What’s that, son?” I asked.
“If you could choose—I mean, if you really could choose, would you rather have two and a half million dollars, or me?”
In the split second it took for his question to register, I knew the answer, and I gave it willingly.
“I’d choose you, of course.”
His blue eyes smiled at me. “I kinda knew you’d say that,” he said.
Then he was back to dipping graham crackers in milk, conversation forgotten. And I was left with the question.
I tried to imagine two and a half million dollars. I couldn’t imagine that. I tried to imagine life without him. I could imagine that even less.
Eternity’s too short to trade the soul of my child for money that will vanish at the end of time. Granted, I’d willingly take both the bucks and the boy, but I’d never trade one for the other. Choosing bucks over my boy is not an option for me.
A few hours later, I asked him the reason for his question.
“I’ve just been thinking about it, and I wanted to see if you’d say what I thought you’d say,” was all he’d tell me.
Yet, just a few days later, on a Sunday morning in another state, I was helping his grandmother into her wheelchair. He came to me again, insisting on having my immediate, undivided attention.
“Mama, I need to ask you something. This is one of those which-would-you-rather-have questions.”
Then, pulling my face down to his, he whispered in my ear, “Would you rather have Jesus — or me?”
“Oh, Aaron,” I said, “that’s not a fair question.”
“Just answer it,” he demanded.
“I’d rather have Jesus, but I would also want to have you,” I said.
Later, we talked about that question.
“Did I give you the answer you thought I would give?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” he hedged, consternation on his forehead.
So I explained again. “If I give up Jesus, I give up Heaven when I die,” I said. “That would be worse than giving up spring.”
He’s too young to understand the love of a mother who would die for him – or the love of a Savior who died and rose for him. Some springtime, some Easter, he will understand.
There’s a piece of advice given in an Old Testament book.
“I call Heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, . . . so choose life in order that you may live . . . .” [Deuteronomy 30:19]
I have confidence that, even though the answer I gave wasn’t what he hoped he’d hear, someday he’ll understand. He’ll also know that my answer was the right one.
Just yesterday, he came to me again with one of those “which would you rather have” questions.
“Would you rather have anything in the world you wanted — or me?”
“I’d choose you over anything in the world I’d like to have,” I assured him.
And I meant it — with all of my heart. His smile, from ear to ear, told me that I had hit the mark with my answer this time.
As I watch the world around me usher in spring, I am content in realizing that I have all that I need —more than I need, actually — to be satisfied.
Would I trade two and a half billion bucks for my boy? No way.
Would I choose anything my heart desired over him? Nay again.
Would I give up Jesus to have him? Never.
For in choosing Jesus, I am choosing life.
In choosing life, I am helping claim eternity for my kids.
This story was first published in the spring of 2003 when our youngest was seven years old. It was titled A Boy, Some Bucks, and Eternity. It is in the book Southside Glimmers.