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Day 11: Judgments

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I hereby judge Tuesday night to be a nothing night.

I mean, there’s always something. The tips were great last night. I took home over $40 and beat my average on number of deliveries. What I am trying to say is that Tuesday nights are simple. No stocking truck. No late close. Just, work.

Down time is interesting. People are starting to talk. Maybe it’s my tenure. Maybe people are used to me. Maybe I’m just now picking up on stuff because I’m not having to focus so hard on learning. As I get to listen more – and people open up more – I can see trends and threads and relationships and tensions with more clarity.

There was a disagreement on the correct temperature of water for mixing pizza sauce. Should it be warm? Should it be cold? Does it matter? A coworker insisted that it didn’t matter. Others disagreed. This coworker clung to the idea. Held on for dear life to the idea. Management intervened. They explained that it needed to be cold, and why. The response from my coworker? To paraphrase, “Yeah right, and that’s lame and makes no sense.”

I kept quiet. I made my own judgments. I was grateful my issues didn’t jump out of my mouth at work in the form of contention about sauce. Would be terrible to be in that situation.

Time passed. It got close to closing time. I was helping wash dishes. Our dish totes are giant, 50 gallon Brute plastic trash cans. There was a half-full one left to clean. I lifted it off the floor and dumped the dishes into the sink with a crash. Two coworkers were chatting at a desk nearby when it happened.

I pushed the empty bin past the desk with the coworkers and apologized on my way.

“Hey, Tony,” one of them said as I was on my way back. I had a few dirty buckets in my hands.

“Yes, oh-coworker-one?” I said.

“So,” she started with a smile, glancing sideways at the other coworker. “Just as an FYI,” she continued. She hesitated.

The second coworker removed her stained, well-worn hat to reveal bandaging, a shaved head and what looked like grease patches.

“Just an FYI,” coworker #1 started again, still smiling, “coworker #2 is going through cancer.”

“Yeah, I have holes in my head,” the other explained. It wasn’t grease. It was scar tissue/ports/etc. “So the loud noises? They make my head vibrate in a very painful way.”

I apologized and promised not to let it happen again. I castigated myself. And I passed another judgment. It would be terrible to be in that situation. But something was different here.

When I had a few seconds, I came over to her.

“How long have you been fighting cancer?” I asked, bent to her level. She was still seated.

“Oh honey, I’m terminal. I’m at my end.”

Seconds passed. Her words had blown holes in my thought processes.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yep. Funeral’s all planned out,” she said, then turned back to some notes.

I was stunned. When I became un-stunned, I realized I was still bent at the waist. I stood and went back to my dishes.

I had no judgment to pass. All of my judgments became insignificant. Petty. Meaningless. Would it be terrible to be in that situation? It had crossed my mind. The reality of death cut me to the quick. My preconceived notions I had about this coworker were shaken. Every preconceived notion I have had about anyone was shaken.

I am bound to my debtors – for now – and that is just one of my struggles. I have trials and troubles. I have bad habits. I drink too much pop. I eat too much junk. I don’t call my friends. I am inconsiderate. I judge, for Pete’s sake. But here in this pizza restaurant was a person dying of cancer who still felt it was important to live. I had no judgment for that. I had respect.

I hereby judge my debts to be egregious and sentence them to death. But I think I’ll put away my gavel for a while.





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