Pepe and I were trying out $100 swivel chairs at Staples.
Actually, we were just killing time while the girls were shopping for clothes at the store next door. I would almost - almost - rather have a liver biopsy than tag along with two teenage girls sorting through racks and racks of clothes. And I've done both.
So Pepe and I went over to Staples instead. I was checking out their computer desks. Man, this would be nice! I said, as I sat down in front of a massive desk and hutch combination, imagining myself sitting there in the warm light of a quiet evening, working on another almost brilliant project.
The arrangement I have here at home is just a bit different.
Here in our dining room, I have an old Macintosh set up on a desk that, if I didnt pick up at a garage sale, it LOOKS like I did.... a desk that had been sitting there still, late in the afternoon on the second day. My computer doesnt actually fit on it, so I have the keyboard set on a piece of shelving resting on the open drawers of the desk. Very Martha Stewart.
My iMac is sitting in front of the windows, on a wobbly table made from 2x4s and half a piece of plywood. Papa made the table for us, originally just for a place to set up our Christmas Village each year. It was meant to be covered with a white cloth, so you werent supposed to see the construction-grade materials.
But, our computer has ended up permanently set up here instead.
It is all very makeshift. And not exactly inspiring - or soothing to the spirit!
A REAL computer desk, with room to spread out, and shelves for books and CDs... ah... that would be a dream.
So Pepe and I were trying out chairs to go along with this imaginary home office we were creating, when I said to him,
I wish one day we actually had the money to buy stuff like this.
I am sure he was thinking, Yeah, right, Dad. Dream on!!!
Pepes paper route money is the most cash that is usually seen around here. It is pretty bad when you are all the time hitting up your 12 year-old son for money to buy pop and rent movies!
And then as I got to thinking about it, I said, You know, Pep, what we really need is about $50,000 to fix up all the things that need to be fixed up around our house.
$50,000 might not even be enough. We need a new roof, we need a new bathroom (half the tile has been peeled up from the floor after numerous people have forgotten to pull the shower curtain IN the tub, and flooded the bathroom. I always enjoy a little sprinkle on my head as I am standing in the kitchen below fixing breakfast).
A new kitchen would be nice. Ours is pretty bad.
A second bathroom!
How seven of us manage to get by with just one bathroom has to be one of those unnoticed miracles of life.
Yep, Pep, $50,000 sure would help.
And then I had a crazy thought. You know what? Lets pray, and ask God for it!
Pepe looked at me as if I WAS crazy.
I am serious! Lets ask God for $50,000.... this week!!!
(Okay, looking back now, I realize it WAS pretty ridiculous. Sort of like a ten year-old asking for a million dollars.)
Pepe immediately had a Monkeys Paw take on the idea.
Yeah, well get $50,000. A big black bag full of money will drop from the sky, hit you in the head and kill you! That kid has been reading too many Lemony Snicket "Series of Unfortunate Events" books.
But I was serious.
Well, I mean, what did we have to loose! And so I took Pepes hand and said a quick little prayer out loud. I was tempted to just secretly say a prayer to myself, so as not to appear entirely foolish. But then I figured, if $50,000 DOES happen to appear this week, I want it clear WHERE it came from.
A few minutes later, the girls showed up, and I told them my idea. I am sure they were thinking, Oh brother.
We had to stop at Eagles for toilet paper, and a couple of bucks so we could get enough gas to make it home, and as we were getting back into the car, a thought hit me.
You know what, you guys? We cant lose!
God loves us, right? And he always wants the best for us. Well then, if $50,000 would be the best thing to happen to us, we WILL get $50,000 this week.
But, if we DONT get $50,000, then it will be because God knows that it wouldnt be the best thing for us.
So really, if we dont get the money, then WHATEVER happens - will be BETTER than getting $50,000!
And I really believe thats true.
Of course, when I told Dani my idea, she just cut right to the heart of it, as she always does. Maybe God wants you to WORK for it, she said matter-of-factly. She is just no fun at all sometimes!
I had to defend myself... a little. I said, I am serious. God loves us. And I really believe whatever happens, it is God always doing what is best for us. I mean, we love our kids, would we ever give them anything less then the best we are able? And God is able to do ANYTHING. Right?
But youre right. If we had infinite resources, I am sure our kids would each WANT a new Lamborghini - but I doubt we would give them one. Why? Because we would know that in the end, giving them everything they want would not allow them to become the PEOPLE we want them to become.
They would become self-centered, shallow, and in the end, miserably unhappy people, who had founded their happiness on things, and not on what really matters - knowing and loving God.
NOT giving them everything they want - allowing them to struggle and grow through trials and difficulties - is really the best thing we can do for them.
I told Aracely the same thing later that night, You know, I guess I would rather not get the money, if it would mean not becoming the person God wants me to become. $50,000, and all the stuff we could buy with it will all go away. The person I become, I will be for all eternity.
I would rather spend eternity as fully the person God has hopes for me to be.
So, I am thinking we probably wont be getting $50,000 this week.