I Didn’t Get What I Wanted, but . . . !
Que pasa! I’m Arturo, and I live in the beautiful state of Colorado.
I was on the top of the world and could see for miles around me. The blue wind smacked my face with its icy cold. Hmm! I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath.
“Come on, Art!” yelled Jillian and Zack.
Down they started. I took one more sweeping glance of the perfect view under a clear sky and shoved off! What a rush! This was no bunny slope! This slope went straight down for a couple hundred feet, and next I veered right. Then, I flew left through the fir trees. Oh, yeah!
Before long, I reached the steep slick that hugged narrowly to the side of a rocky cliff! This was living! The drop off wasn’t too far if you happened to go flying off, and a large powder snow pile in which to land was below the ledge. I fell in one time down the slope. Actually, it was a fun dive! Skiers can either take the jump or hang left to meet the mile-long stretch to the bottom.
Ski Dreams on Trial
“But I worked all summer! I earned my own money, and I spent my own money!” I yelled at my father.
“Yeah, you work, Arturo, and you earn money for your education!”
“But I already gave the money I owe for school to Mother! I always do.” I tried to convince him. “I just used my own spending money to buy these. I have been saving up for two years for them.”
“Huh! You should have more sense, Boy!” Dad was shaking his head in disbelief. “More sense than to spend your money like this! What do you need with skiing?”
I had laid out on my bed my pride and joy, my own set of ski equipment! I had the skis, the boots and the poles as well as the Jackie, pants and gloves. Then I had the shades, the headband, and the hat, of course! I was ready for the slopes, and I was going in style! I had walked into Bart’s Sports Barn many times looking at all the ski wear. I chose what I would buy as soon as I had the money.
Now, I go to a private school instead of a regular high school, and even though my father could afford the entire bill himself, he has me pay half of the bill myself so I can appreciate what it costs for a good education. He has me work at least ten hours a week in the largest of his five nurseries, the one closest to our house.
In the summers, I work almost full-time. I don’t mind the work too much. My mother says I have naturally acquired my father’s talent for growing things, and I actually love everything about the business. Someday, I will be a partner with him. He has said so, and I look forward to it.
Still, I am serious about skiing, too! Skiing gets the adrenalin going, and it is a classy sport that not just everyone can afford. It has been very satisfying to be a member of the school’s exclusive ski club.
Only took one ski experience to made me a ski enthusiast, but my father, whose name is Manuel Iglesias Ramirez, migrated north-ward from Mexico with his family when he was only five years old. His parents worked as seasonal laborers picking fruit and vegetables. He made his way into greenhouses and nurseries, and he has become what some would consider “well off.” I can say, his nurseries that he now owns are his life, and he never does anything fun or takes a vacation.
My mother, Consuelo, is down at the main location almost every day working with the roses. She says she belongs with my father, at his side. “Anyway,” she says, “I would never see him if I was not involved with the nursery business, and he likes having me there.”
Yes! They go together on business trips and consider those as vacations because they get to go someplace different and eat out in different restaurants. Well, that is fine if that is the way they want to live, but I plan to enjoy my work and my play. You know, I want to lead a more balanced life! I work hard, and I play hard.
Months have gone by since I have been on a ski trip with the club. A couple of times a month during the season, I go up to the nearest mountains on a Sunday with a couple friends and ski the slopes for hours. The first year, my father let me go on two trips, the first week of Christmas Brea, and Spring Break because I was friends with Marcus in the ski club. My father did business with his father.
Then Marcus and his father moved away, and I only got to go once last year. That trip was to Banff in Canada. I love Banff! I really want to go this year, but now I’ve been wondering if my father will give me any money for ski trips like that ever again! He is pretty mad that I spent so much money on equipment.
Right now, I’m still a member of the club, but one of our rules is that you have to go on at least one of the two trips a year to keep membership. Of course as usual, I’ll head for the mountains around here in Colorado with as many friends as want to go along on weekends, and I will have my own equipment when I go! Still, I hope my father lets me go on at least one big trip to keep my membership with the club!
My Father Gives Me a Trip
My father was cleaning his plate. Now was my chance before he left the table and went to the family room, got in his big easy chair, and pulled out his horticultural magazines, nursery newsletters and other mail.
“Uh, Father, I have something I need to talk to you about.” I nervously began.
“Yes, Son! You have something you want to ask?”
“Sure, I mean. . . . See,” I was nervous. “The next trip with the ski club is a trip to a ski resort in Idaho. That is not too far away and is not as expensive as the Canada trip. May I give you the paper so you can fill out your part and write a check so that I can turn it? It is due by the end of the week.” I was wishing I had more than two hundred dollars of my own money right now so that I could pay for it myself.
“Hmm, Arturo, I have been thinking a lot about this ski business of yours. You know, it is an expensive investment and doesn’t yield any returns except pleasure. But, I know, I got angry and more upset about your buying your equipment than I should have and I apologize.” He looked at me and paused.
“I understand,” I answered. I didn’t know what else to say to him, so I just kind of shifted in my chair.
It seemed like a long pause of silence between us. He just kept looking at me and began to smile ever so slightly. I was not comfortable at all and wondered what to do. “So, I have the papers right over there.” I started to rise from the table to get them.
“No, hold on, hold on!” he motioned with his hands for me to stay sitting. Still, he didn’t tell me what was on his mind. I just waited. Mother tried to excuse herself.
“No, Consuelo, I want you to stay also.” She smiled at him, and he smiled back and took her hand.
“Your mother and I place a lot of hope on you. We love you, Son. We had hopes of more children, but that has not been possible as you know. You are our Gift from God. We want you to have the very best. You know, too, how the Lord has blessed me and how much I thank Him for his bounty. I want to live my life so that I can give something back to Him and help others to know Him.
“You pledged your life to Him as well and made it public in Church.” I nodded and squirmed in my seat. I wondered where he was going with this.
“I am OK with your going on Sunday afternoon once or twice a month with your own money to ski the local slopes, but I am going to send you on only one trip this year and it won’t be for skiing.”
“What do you mean?” I panicked. “I . . . .”
“Yes, Son, I will not sponsor you on any ski trips and I will send you on a different trip entirely.”
“Huh! You know I can’t keep my membership in the ski club unless I go on at least one trip!”
“That is your problem, Son. You earn the money somehow. I have more important things I am concerned about, and it is time you thought about your priorities. I am sending you on the Belize trip.”
I groaned. I had heard the announcements in church that our church was going to Belize on a mission trip and anyone who wanted to go and could find the money was welcome, but to go there instead of skiing!
My father grinned. “There, it’s out and it is my final answer!” He slapped the table with his hand and threw his head back and laughed. He looked at my mother, and then at me with a twinkle in his eye. Usually when he said that, my mother and I laughed with him. We both knew he loved to watch the Millionaire game show once in a while, but this decision was serious.
He got up from the table, and I knew that the discussion was over.
New Trip, New Perspective
Belize was totally different than a ski trip! OK, no snow, no mountains, no friends from the club. I wasn’t too happy when I first got the news of my father’s travel plans for me. In fact, I was so mad! He made it sound like it was a duty from God! I loved God, but I was practically a man, and I should be able to choose where I was going to go!
Yet, I knew I could not pay for the trip myself. I would have to quit the ski club if I couldn’t come up with the money for the spring trip. Still, I suppose I actually got used to the idea of going to Belize, and by the time I was off with the other “missionaries,” I was kind of excited. There were some others going that I knew because I had them in my classes at school or else I knew them from church. I was glad of that.
In the airplane on the way down, I sat by the window and looked out. The flight was a good time to think, but I was not very happy with what was going through my head, how my father had said that I needed to get my priorities straight. I thought about my baptism and how I had given my life to God. Didn’t I really live for Him and appreciate everything he had given me?
Belize is tropical, and there was a lovely beach nearby where we were staying. I liked that, but what caught my attention the most was the people. They were so poor, but so happy! I got to speak to many of them. We built a small school building and held Vacation Bible School or VBS for the children in the village.
When I came home from that trip, I had lots of memories like the fun of working with new friends, getting to know people in another culture, and even finding a new love for God and my family. Yes, as hard as it might be to admit it, my father did the right thing when he sent me there.
This one little boy there that everyone called Sony because he carried around a little Sony sound recorder really stands out in my memory. I laughed as he followed me around every day and recorded what I said. He would come about 6:00 in the morning and stay until dark. He also talked non-stop telling me about his life, family, and whatever else. He asked me a lot of questions about the United States and my family to put on his recorder.
I told him about snow and skiing, but he could not understand what I was talking about! It was kind of funny. I felt sad that he might not ever even get to see snow, but he lives by the beach! When I had to leave, he gave me a big hug and told me not to forget him and to come back. I gave him my Banff cap and he jumped up and down and ran around showing it to everyone. Then, he came back and gave me a big hug and said, “Meet you in Heaven with Jesus!”
The best thing about the trip, I think, is that I was reminded that people are more important than things. Those people didn’t have much, but they were happy. Many I met were Christian and loved God. They spoke about Him much more than I was used to hearing in my world. They had what was really important and that was God. I want to be more that way, thinking of others and putting God first in my life. Hey, maybe they were more missionaries to me than I was to them!
Now I see that like in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd . . . . ” I really have everything I need and even some of the things I want! So I didn’t get the ski trip during Christmas break, and I’m still trying to work more to save up enough money for the spring trip. Still, I got what I really needed. I had so much fun, too! I don’t know, maybe I like mission trips more than skiing! I do know I want to go on another mission trip sometime soon!
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.