He has been saving his money for months. Almost a year ago, my ten-year-old son began carefully putting away allowances earned for chores; squirreling away money generously received as gifts. With an eye on a few items that were sure to bring him great entertainment, Chase patiently waited for the day to come that would declare it time to spend his stash.
A week ago, Chase was invited on an outing to Atlanta with a friend; a trip specifically planned to visit a renowned outfitter’s store having its once a year sale. As an aficionado of the outdoors, this provided unexpected opportunity for my son to stretch those meticulously saved dollars in a manner that surpassed original intentions.
He gathered the weathered dollars from a hiding place known only to him, and excitedly left our home that morning with adolescent thoughts of all of the treasures he would purchase. Chase had been steadfast and deliberate, and for a year, fought off the temptations impulse buying can bring. With eyes persistently on the goal, the time had come and the prize would finally be his.
Except his prize was not to be.
Chase returned later that afternoon with a bounce in his step and a light in his eyes that declared the shopping excursion a huge success. His joy only enhanced my own, as I waited for him to show the items that had brought on such delight. Motioning me into the privacy of his bedroom, with a furtive glance towards his dad, Chase closed the door behind him and then slowly opened the bag containing his purchases.
A worried expression crossed his face and Chase said, “Mom, I spent all of my money. I hope that’s okay.”
“Sure,” I responded. “You’ve been saving for a long time and it makes me happy that you were able to finally buy what you wanted.”
An infectious grin spread across his face, the kind that showcased every orthodontic-covered tooth, and I found myself smiling with an anticipation that matched his own.
With great pride and deliberation, Chase opened the hand that every once in a while still wants to hold mine, revealing a very expensive utility knife, an object that caused me to pause uncertainly.
“That’s a great knife, Chase, but probably something we would rather you own when you are older,” I reluctantly responded, knowing that my comment had the potential to extinguish the light and joy in his eyes.
Saying nothing, he pulled out the second item, this time a small saw, the kind used to cut down small trees or the hamburger meat yours truly sometimes forgets to thaw.
“Really, Chase,” I continued, a little alarmed at the pint-sized Paul Bunyan looking slyly back at me. “Unfortunately, we’re going to need to talk to your dad about these purchases. I’m afraid you’re just not old enough.”
“That’s probably not a very good idea,” he said with a laugh, “Considering that I bought both of these for him. And he’s PLENTY old enough.”
It took me a moment to connect the dots of what he was saying, attempting to reconcile the large sum of money he had been saving with the generous gifts bought for my husband.
“Remember how Dad lost his favorite knife a few months ago? When I was at the store, I saw this one and just knew that it would be perfect for his birthday. And the saw? I just figured it would be a great bonus. Not to mention that maybe he could teach me how to use it if it doesn’t cause you to freak out too much,” he finished with a smirk that made me laugh out loud.
“It’s perfect, Chase. I know he will love both. But, you don’t have any money left now.”
“It’s not a big deal,” he said with a shrug of his generous shoulders. “I’ll just save up again for the stuff I wanted. Unless, of course, it’s near your birthday, mom.” The look on his face once again reminded me why the love I feel for him at times is a physical ache.
There was no hesitation in his purchases. No thoughts of how the money could have been better used on personal desires or of the amount of time it would take to restore his former financial status. A pure intentioned act that spoke volumes of the love he feels for his dad, a micro-sized example of the way our Father feels about us.
Sacrificial giving to family, to church, to those less fortunate, that’s the place true blessings are born. Manifested in the form of time given or money spent, the delight derived from the sacrifice so succinctly reveals the condition of the heart.
Chase’s act was lavish, selfless, and instinctive, a fitting portrayal of the person he is becoming on the inside.
Even if the outside occasionally resembles Paul Bunyan.