I was green with envy over a blue handbag. Funny thing is, I don’t even accessorize with blue. But when my girlfriend carried her trendy, azure bag, she was looking good.
I wanted one, too.
“Lonny, if we see a department store, let’s stop,” I said. We were twining through road construction, toting our boat, on the way to the deep woods of Michigan.
“Not likely out here,” he said. “What do you need?”
Tough question. I don’t need anything, really. I’m just lusty for a big, blue bag. I couldn’t say the words out loud. It was absurd. A Suburban full of contained maleness, ready to burst from ten hours of travel. Okay boys, let’s go buy a purse.
Soon we were at Higgins Lake. Blue leather couldn’t compete with blue water and sky, but I still thought about that darned bag from time to time, just the same.
“Mom, help me look for shells?” Gabe asked, one afternoon, pointing toward the glinting lake. Then he headed for the crisp, clear shallows, bucket and sifter in tow.
“I’d love to help,” I said. And we set out to find his treasure.
Gabe and I spent the next two hours searching for shells. We’d spy them, tiny, coiled, and white, poking from the soft, light sand. Then Gabe would plunge his sifter through the water to scoop from the lake floor. He’d rinse until only the shells remained. Plink! He’d drop them in a bucket.
Before long we had a whole pail full.
“Mom, I think I’d like to go out now. To swim in the deeper place with Logan and Grant,” Gabe eventually said, holding his bucket.
Gabe didn’t say a word. He looked to our basket on the sand, and then took his bucket and tipped it upside down. A cascade of pearly white shells fell back to the bottom of the lake, sending ripples and rings over the sheet of smooth water. Then he headed out to meet his brothers.
I stood in his wake, baffled.
Gabe, at that moment, had the ability to let go of something material. Something he’d desired. There was something more wonderful to enjoy, and he was ready to go. Without hindrance. Without want. Unencumbered by the bulk of “things”.
Standing there in the sun, I remembered that blue bag and regretted even a moment spent thinking about it when there were better, more wonderful blessings within my grasp.
Lord, free me from the want of things that clouds my focus and robs me of greater blessings.
The water was cleansing and cool as I swam out toward my sons.