More Precious Than Gold
By Gina Allison Holder
“Mom, Billy is in my stuff again,” ten-year-old Sarah shouted down the hall. She grabbed Billy’s chubby hand and dragged him out of her room.
Their mother came out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dishrag. “Sarah, you must have patience with Billy. He thinks your things are interesting.”
“But, Mom. He’s six years old, and he still won’t stay out of my stuff. When will he get the point?”
Mom took Billy by the hand and walked him back to the kitchen saying, “Billy, you need to leave Sarah’s things alone.”
Sarah stomped into her room and slammed her door. She flopped on her bed. “It’s not fair,” Sarah shouted at the ceiling. “Why do I have to give up everything for Billy?”
“God, why did You send me a mentally disabled brother? He’s been nothing but trouble since he was born.”
Sarah tossed a doll across the room. “What does it matter? God doesn’t listen to me.”
Sarah thought of all the things she had given up. First it was Lilly, her little Cocker Spaniel, because Billy was allergic to dogs. Then it was all dairy products, because Billy was allergic to those, too. Billy was practically allergic to everything.
She had given up her big room, so Billy could be upstairs with their parents. She’d had to quit trumpet lessons, because they fell on the day Billy had his weekly checkup. Why did she have to make all the sacrifices? Billy was the one with the problems, not her. Sarah realized Billy couldn’t help it, but it didn’t change her feelings.
Sarah lay on her bed feeling sorry for herself. Absentmindedly, she stroked the ruby-red roses printed on her bedspread. Suddenly, the bedroom door swung open with a bang. The knob put a small hole in the wall. Sarah sat up. She felt her cheeks turning red in frustration. Billy stood in the doorway, his nose dripping.
“Tissue, please,” he said in his slurred speech.
Sarah grabbed a tissue box and threw it at him. It hit him squarely on the head. Tears filled Billy’s eyes, but Sarah didn’t care. “Get out of my room. I give up everything for you, and what do you give me? You break my things and put holes in my walls.”
Billy ran down the hall bawling.
Their mother appeared in the doorway. “What was that for?”
“Mom, I hate him.” Sarah rushed past her mother and went outside. She sat on a swing, brooding. Couldn’t her mother see how unfair her life was? Billy made everything harder. Through the window, Sarah saw her mother settling Billy down. Then she realized her mother had a harder life, too, because of Billy.
“God, I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I know You care about me as much as you care about Billy, but it’s so hard sometimes. Please help me.” After a while, she headed back inside. Sarah found her mother in the den, reading her Bible.
When she entered the room, her mother looked up. Sarah could see the sadness in her eyes.
“Mom, I’m really sorry. I don’t hate Billy. I love him. Will you forgive me?”
Her mother set her Bible down, and opened her arms. “Honey, of course I forgive you. It has been very difficult for all of us, but we have to trust God. He will carry us through these difficult times.”
Sarah gave her mother a hug as her mom wiped a tear from Sarah’s face. “I’ve decided we need a break, so we’ll go out to eat and then go bowling. Go change your shoes.”
Sarah hurried to her room. She stopped abruptly in the doorway. Billy sat on the floor, his rock collection piled around him. A big smile spread over his face when he saw her.
Sarah felt her anger returning, “Billy, you’ve gotten my carpet dirty and spread rocks everywhere.”
Billy’s smile faded. In his hands Billy held his shiny yellow rock. Sarah knew he believed it was gold, though their mother had explained otherwise. The rock was Billy’s most valued possession, and he often sat for hours holding it in his hands and looking at it.
Billy stood up and held out the yellow rock to Sarah. “For you,” he said.
At first, Sarah did not understand. Then her own unkind words echoed in her mind. “I give up everything for you, and what do you give me? You break my things and put holes in my walls!”
Sarah took the rock and started crying. “I’m sorry I threw the tissue box at you, Billy.”
Billy patted her arm awkwardly.
Just then her mother appeared at the door. “What happened?” she asked, eyeing the pile of rocks on the white carpet. “Oh, Billy!”
“But, Mom, look,” Sarah said. She showed her mother the rock.
“That’s Billy’s rock.”
“No, Mom. This is no ordinary rock.”
Her mom raised an eyebrow. “No?”
“No. It’s a gift from Billy, a gift more precious than all the gold in the world.”
© Gina (Allison) Holder
Gina Holder is a freelance writer who blogs at Stories by Gina.