While riding in our daughter’s family van, I asked our four-year-old grandson about the auction he and his dad had attended earlier.
“Could you understand the auctioneer, Benjamin?” I said.
He chuckled. “He talks very fast!”
“Do you know your Daddy can talk like that too?” Our son-in-law learned the art of auctioneering, but took up preaching instead.
The Bean’s mouth dropped. “What?” he said. Then, “Daddy, talk like a auc-shu-eer!”
Kendall grinned. “Give me something to auction off.”
In the front passenger seat, his mother looked out the window at the pinking sky. At the transparent, almost-full moon emerging through the evening haze. “Hey, how about the moon?”
“Do the moon, Daddy,” Benjamin crowed.
Kendall began, “Ihaveamoon,onefullmoon,onewholemoon, whowantsthemoon?Let’sstartthebiddingat…”
“One dollar,” Amanda hollered from up front.
“Benjamin,” I whispered. “Say one ten.”
“One ten,” he yelled, eyes bright.
“One thirty…One fifty….” The bids climbed fast. All aboard pitched in, even the tiniest bean. Benjamin obediently shouted out the numbers I whispered in his ear.
Finally, “One seventy-five—who’ll give me one hundred and seventy-five dollars for the moon?” the auctioneer cried, laughing at our silliness. “Going once, going twice, going…”
“Say ‘two hundred’ Benjamin!’” I prompted.
“Two hundred!” But he sounded uncertain.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have two hundred. Two twenty-five, two twenty-five, who’ll give me two twenty-five….. ?
“Too steep for me,” said his mother, his primary contender.
“Going once, going twice, going, going, and GONE. Sold for two hundred to the little guy in the back seat.” Kendall thumped the steering wheel.
“WOW, Benjamin!” I said. “You just bought the moon for two hundred dollars!”
The Bean, sober-faced now, looked out the window, where shone the paper-white moon, the cow-jumped-over-it moon, the smiling moon, the “I-see-the-moon-and-the-moon-sees-me” moon. And pondered.
Then he turned and looked into my eyes. His own deep-blues appeared troubled. Every word weighted with a curious sense of awful responsibility, he said, “Why did I?”
The adults roared. He joined in, and we laughed some more…Benjamin owns the moon, and he doesn’t have a clue why. Neither do we, but it’s his, sure as shootin’. He put in the winning bid.
I’ve “bought the moon” more than once in my life. Never has that been more true than in the last two and a half years, since Neurological West Nile disabled the Preacher and, to a large extent, our roles reversed.
Our faith in God is strong, but the road is unfamiliar. Sometimes I’ve listened to others, wrongly. Leapt before looking. Accepted commitments too big for me, challenges that frightened me to death.
The moon sits uncomfortably in one’s pocket.
But God keeps reminding me that he understands my confusion and uncertainties, and walks alongside. That he still owns the moon, and I don’t need to take care of it.
Got a confusing road? Lost a lifestyle? Bought the moon on the good advice of others? Talk to God. Give back the moon. Take his hand and keep walking. He’ll take care of you both.