This post is in response to the question: Would you rather have $50 million or live for an extra 50 years? I can’t relate to $50 million but I can relate to $1. Having money is nice when I have it, but having a year, wow. I haven’t been here for 50 years yet but I can certainly relate to 1 year. To have 50 more years or to have $50 million, that is the question.
I would rather have the extra 50 years. I mean that’s another 436,800 hours or another 2.62 million minutes I get to experience on this earth. The minute I shared with the twins before their nap today was priceless. I can’t imagine millions more of those minutes.
They say time is money and I am just fine with time. I would rather have more time to explore God’s created earth, more time to learn, more time to laugh, more time to share, more time to worship, more time to love, more time to be loved, and so on. 50 more Christmases. 50 more years to remember and honor those who have sacrificed so much. 50 more years to learn my family past and present. 50 more years of passing it on. 50 more years of God’s plan for me. 50 more years of being an example. 50 more years to be a voice. I would take it.
Think of all those people who never got the chance to grow up or to live a full life. A full life may not be a long one, it may be a life that carry’s out God’s plan, a life that carries with it a message, and in doing so is short by our measurements. Imagine though, you, me, those who had their lives shortened, had 50 more years too. 50 years to live, to follow God’s plan, to minister, to tell their story. Wow, what a thought.
50 more years, what a tribute this would be. Here’s my tribute to the following:
My Uncle Roger who died as a baby only hours old. What if he had 50 more years? I would have been able to meet him this side of heaven. His brothers and sister would have met him. Our family Thanksgiving’s would have included him and his family if he had one. I bet we would have loved and enjoyed him just as we did the rest of our family.
My grandmother Beal (Gallagher) died at the age of 98, almost two years ago now. She was a blessing to us all. Even at the end of her life. Imagine her having 50 more years to be the small, quiet presence across the street from my childhood home. There are so many folks who passed on, too many to name. I will get to some of them though. My grandfather Beal died in 1995 and the world could really use 50 more years of his strong hand, teaching the Bible, quoting scriptures, and his genuine smile of appreciation for children. My Aunt June Beal who died in 2009 at the age of 67, who wouldn’t have loved 50 more years of her smile, sense of humor, example, and the special bond of twin-ness with her twin brother, my dad.
On my mom’s side, it’s the same story. My grandfather Peterson died when I was just a boy. I think I was 11 years old. In those 11 years, I know I grew to love him. He was one of the first family members to see me as I was born in Caribou, Maine while my parents were in New Brunswick for Christmas. Once we left the hospital we went back to NB and there I met my Grampy Peterson for the first time. How I would have loved to know him longer. Even so, I remember some things about him, and would have loved 50 more years of him starting a fire in the wood stove every morning, 50 more years of smelling bacon cooking as my first sense upon waking in the morning, 50 more years of learning the ways of his farm from him, 50 more years of things like sliding a pan of hot coals under the car to warm it up enough to start it in subzero temperatures, 50 more years of trips to the village market with my Grampy.
My grandmother Peterson (Staples) died when I was 17 I think. She was wonderful. I remember that at her funeral my cousins sang her favorite hymns and a poem written by my Uncle Lloyd when he was 16 was read. I remember it was the biggest celebration of one’s life I had ever seen, it still is. She loved when we visited from New Hampshire. We typically made one or two trips to Canada per year. We stayed a week or maybe two and I cherish every moment of those visits. Her home-made food was the best I have ever eaten. I can’t write this without mentioning her doughnuts. My mouth waters as I write this.
My Uncle Carl Peterson who passed away on November 25th, 2008. He was a young, strong, wise, and brilliant 74 years old. If I can stand as straight, tall, proud, and happy as my Uncle Carl did, when I am 74 it will be an accomplishment. His silver white hair was wavy and shaped by wearing a baseball styled cap his whole life. His hair tapered away from his face perfectly as it pulled the ends of his smile to bigger than life proportions. He was the constant at the old homestead that everyone measured themselves against as he looked after the farm. I think everyone learned something from him and he was always learning more. When he died, my brother Pete was prompted to write these fitting lines about my Uncle Carl, “It’s inconceivable that my Uncle Carl has left this world. He embodied a type of greatness whose most blessed promise was that through eternity it would hold court on the couch in his living room with a beaming smile and the ringing soil voice with which we all would choose to narrate our lives. I dearly hope I never forget that voice…Without hyperbole or cliché I believe it is safe to say that a man like Carl Peterson will never again grace our paths…Perhaps it was time to take Uncle Carl home; the 21st century certainly did not deserve a man like this…I never heard my mother say anything bad about Uncle Carl. Never. Even in my early 20’s when I apparently thought a major point of my existence was to expose all men as frauds, my mom would not budge. The greatness of her oldest brother so overwhelmed the pettiness of her own son that my buffoonish temerity should be a lasting rebuke to all the little minds of youth…” Who of us wouldn’t have wanted 50 more years with any of these people? Pete I hope you don’t mind me using some of your words here.
I am not talking about cheating death, or suffering, or illness, or old age, or anything of the sort. I am talking about 50 more years added to life here on earth. What about the innocent children who never had the chance to grow up? What if they got the 50 years extra? That would have to be worth way more than $50 million or any amount of anything. Life. Every breath. Breath after breath. Thoughts accompany nearly every breath. Experience is gained like a running movie production of our lives. The moments add up, memories take shape, and life is lived. Again, there are thousands, millions of folks who deserved more time on earth. God has a plan for us all and maybe that doesn’t include 50 more years or even 50 more minutes of life. I wrote this out to show how valuable time is, a minute, an hour, a year, and so on. I don’t know how valuable $50 million is, but I do know that it wouldn’t have bought any more of the stuff I have been writing about. I would take the extra 50 years.