We all have a wish list—things we want but may never get. My wish list includes a tree house (Swiss Family Robinson style) surrounded by coconut palms on a beach. Wouldn’t that be so awesome?! For my son, it’s much simpler. He wants a hippopotamus. For years, that hippo has been on the Christmas list, just like in that song. I dare say, neither of us will be granted our wishes.
But my husband, Victor, has a more realistic wish. He wants a truck—a nice truck. Something that doesn’t overheat when he pulls heavy loads, something that doesn’t rattle when he gets above 60 m.p.h., and something that doesn’t have a permanent “check-engine-light” on.
For as long as I’ve known Victor, he has had a “truck fund.” The envelope has been pretty fat at times, and pretty empty at other times. Why? Because my husband is motivated by the people he loves more than the things he would love to have.
The truck fund was pretty full many years ago. And then our first hospital bill rolled in. The envelope emptied. Then it got a little more padding again, but the transmission went on my car. The envelope emptied. And so it has gone for years.
It’s easy to see how a man might be willing to empty his “truck fund” for bills that simply must get paid. But I have seen love do more than that.
About three years ago, I was really missing my sister Amanda. We hadn’t seen each other in quite some time, and now her new Army post was in Hawaii. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be seeing my sister for another four years. Airline tickets from our home to hers were pretty pricey, and our family going to visit her was just not a possibility.
Then one day, Victor sent me a text message. We were both at work, pretty bogged down with life and bills. But his text message said something shocking.
“Pack your bags—you are going to Hawaii!”
I was confused at first. Was he being sarcastic? I texted back for some clarification. Again, he affirmed that he had a flight picked out, and the funds ready to pay for it, and he was sending me, alone, to go see my sister.
Alright. Two things went through my head. One, Wow! And two, I can’t go. I was touched beyond expression by the gesture of love that my Victor had just made. It wasn’t that he was sending me on a trip. It was that I knew where he was planning to get the funds from. We didn’t have that kind of money to just send me to Hawaii. He was once again going to take that old truck fund, and give it away for something that would give him nothing.
I gently explained to him that, although his offer was the kindest and most loving gift, I would never want to experience something so wonderful without him by my side. His willingness to give me that money was so much more meaningful than any trip could ever be.
This is the beautiful thing about love. It takes things that seem so important at times, and knocks them down to the bottom of the list in light of the ones we love. How many times have we done things that we don’t want to do because we are motivated by love?
Perhaps it’s the husband going back to school, the wife working overtime, the parent sleeping on a rocky tent floor surrounded by cub scouts—it’s all done for those we love.
I hope Victor never does get to fill that “truck fund” envelope. You see, I have a “truck fund” envelope of my own—one he knows nothing about. And I want to be the one who someday gets to hand him the keys to that nice, big truck. Why? Because I love him more than my dream for a beach tree house. And also because trucks cost a lot less than a slice of beach.
And by the way, we did all end up visiting Hawaii after all. Victor kept watching those airfares over the course of the next year. A deal came along that was too good to be true, and all four of us got to go! And I am so glad we got to make that memory together.
If we never buy that truck, it won’t matter. We are living life for the ones we love, not the things we love.