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Some things are worth more than money. Or pizza.

Sometime yesterday, fat nasty flakes mixed with misty rain descended upon the tiny hamlets of Omaha and Council Bluffs. Princess #3 was pattering around the shop where I work full-time. Her sisters were watching Ella Enchanted while I finished some computer reloads. Half-melted kit-kat plastered itself in layers to parts of her coat while she cried, smiled, sneezed and whined while eating the delicious tidbit. I knew it was time to go home.

The flakes started to get fatter. Not majority-of-Americans fat. More like Truffle Shuffle fat.

I appreciated the increase in fatness. See, I can’t figure out why the motor on my wiper fluid doesn’t work. There’s an electrical short somewhere. I can’t spray fluid. I must wait for it to Shuffle down from the heavens.

And boy did it shuffle. Then it changed to the most beautiful powder I’ve seen since Beaver Mountain. Overnight we got 9”. I know it’s 9” because I took the girls’ sled out after they went in to warm up.

No I did not frolic and dance in the snow like my concuñada’s dog. Let me explain.

I found a nice place in the back yard with a decline. I put the hot-pink circle sled into the snow and truffle-shuffled my way into a cross-legged position. I tried to shimmy down the hill.

It didn’t work. I needed momentum.

I stood up, held the sled in front of me. I calculated my trajectory. I envisioned the success of sliding down our yard-hill to the street. Didn’t occur to me to weigh the pros and cons. Ironic that one of the cons is my weight.

I leaned in. I jumped head-first. I hit the sled, sunk 9” down, and slid no inches forward.

“I give up,” I said. Out loud. To myself. I went inside.

They called Church on a snow day. I got permission from the Bishop to do the Sacrament in our home. I was sitting in the chair in front of my computer collecting my bruised ego when my wife let me know that one pizza place had called.

I checked my phone. One voicemail. I dialed the number to check it and held it to my ear.

“Hey Tony, I know you don’t usually work on Sundays,” Cap’n’s voice chimed, “but I could really use the help. Yesterday was chaos and today is fixing to be the same. Call me as soon as you get this. Thanks.”

My stomach sank. I had worked Sundays for years when Meredith and I first married. That was a thorn in my side. I had to at the time, but never wanted to. I had no choice.

But did I?

No, I didn’t. Had to support the family, options were too limited. I tried to examine other, Sabbath-friendly options.

But did I try hard enough?

Thus I go, back and forth, even now. Even though I haven’t been required to work Sundays for years, I still wonder about that time. 

Today’s situation was tough. I wasn’t required to work. Nope. On the contrary. I had a woman I respected asking for help. She wasn’t promising riches or touting amazing business. She sounded desperate and exhausted on the phone. She was frozen-fingered and stranded trying to fix a tire with too little help on the side of the freezing, snowed-in, crazy Super Bowl pizza highway.

I shared my indecision with my wife. She suggested I pray about it, so I did.

On one hand, I had my covenants. I had promised to keep the Sabbath day holy to the extent possible. I had years of experience where employment restricted me from NOT working on Sundays.

“But you would be doing Cap’n a favor,” one shoulder angel said.

My shoulder angels aren’t a devil and an angel. They tend to just be a couple of dudes that you’d game with: disconnected most of the time, then wise in a strange way when advice is needed.

I went back and forth with myself for a solid quarter hour before deciding that there are things more important that pizza, or money. There are things I want to support on Sunday. One of them is Cap’n, as a friend. But not business. Not consumerism.

I called and left Cap’n a message declining to work.

I hope God in all his awesomeness did something for that career woman. I asked Him to a bunch of times. Many of you would have chosen differently. I don’t know whether the right choice for me after I wrestle with my mind before God is a universal right choice for everyone. I don’t think so. But I don’t know.

What I do know is that our time, like our money, does not belong to us. We are stewards. And that stewardship is fraught with freedoms beyond our wildest dreams. There is also a promise, that if we exercise that stewardship of time and money within a certain set of rules, that freedom will only expand. One of those rules is that we refrain from money making one day in seven.

It made no financial sense to the physical me to skip that shift. I could have made $100-$200 easy. When I asked whether the Friday after Christmas was the busiest of the cheese-gluten season, I was told no. The Super Bowl is. That made sense to physical me.

But I’m not here to listen to physical me. I’m going to do my best to listen to spiritual me. That dude says, “Yeah, you might have made that money, but you would have lost things you can’t see.”

There are things more important than money.


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