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The Choice

Gregory stood looking at the office door with his name on it in blocked gold letters. When he had been promoted and moved to this office, he had been extremely proud of his accomplishment. He had made it to a level where he now earned enough money to provide the very best in life for his wife and their young family. The long hours and extra assignments that he volunteered to do hadn’t bothered him as he had worked to buy their dream home and provide the best private school education for their children. He wanted to be able to take Marie, his wife out to expensive dinners and long romantic weekends. He wanted them to be able to go on worldwide adventure vacations and relaxing family cruises. He desired for them to drive any luxury cars of their choice and for his children to participate in any extracurricular activities of their choice. He had achieved it all.

He entered the office with a heavy sigh, laid his briefcase on the expansive mahogany desk and took a seat in the huge leather chair that had been a reward perk for one of his many successful projects. He couldn’t even remember which project. He couldn’t believe that it had been ten years since his initial promotion. There had been four more promotions since then. The excitement of a new challenge had driven him to excel and do his best at each level.

He turned his chair to the expansive window that looked out on the world outside his office building. His job no longer excited him. He felt tired and overwhelmed, but he felt that he had to continue to perform at the same high level to continue to give his family the lifestyle that they were enjoying. His mind went back to the conversation that he had engaged in with his wife before he had left home this morning.

“I suppose you’ll be home late again tonight,” Marie had commented to him. “ Michele has her first solo recital piece tonight.”

“I’ll try to get home, but I’ve got to work to pay for this house and all of their lessons,” he had replied with a chuckle.

“Of course, you do! You’re paying for a house that you barely spend any time in and lessons for your children whose recital performances or sports competitions that you never attend!” Marie had said to him angrily.

“I have to work for us to have the best in life,” he had replied in surprise at her anger.

“We have the big house and the luxury cars. Our children attend the most prestigious private schools, but we are not a family! I get glimpses of you on most days. I sleep beside you but you’re too exhausted for us to even hold a simple conversation. To our children you’re just a shadow who supplies things. The only thing important to you is making more and more money and receiving accolades from the management of your company. You’re a slave to your ambition and success because you fear losing your things. You’ve lost who you were,” Marie had told him.

He had left the house in anger. She didn’t understand what it meant to him to be successful, to be free to live where he wanted to live and have the things that showed the world how successful he was. Now that he had those things, he had to work diligently to keep them. But he understood every complaint that she had expressed. He, too, was tired and frustrated at working such long hours. The challenge of working on the top moneymaking assignments had excited him in the beginning and he had volunteered as soon as the assignments had been offered. Now, he volunteered because he didn’t want to be thought of as being a slacker. Despite this, he definitely wasn’t a slave to his job.

As he stared out of the window, he thought about what he had heard in church on Sunday. He seldom paid attention to what was said by the minister because he didn’t feel that they understood the business world. However, the minister, who was new to their church had come from the business world. He had said that everything in your life should make you happy, energized, and feel loved. He had said that you should love what work you did and enjoy being there. If you enjoyed what you did, then the rewards would come to you. Gregory didn’t know if he believed that. He had faith in God, but could he trust that God would supply all that he desired for his family. He shook his head as if to clear it; he had the morning assignment meeting to attend.

He sat in the morning meeting only half listening to what was being said. His major competitor, Ross Springer, sat across the table from him. He and Ross had come into the company on the same day. He observed Ross, who seldom worked late or on the weekends. Ross never missed his son’s baseball games or his daughter’s soccer games. Ross constantly bragged about the romantic weekends that he took his wife on or the happy vacations that he took his family on. Ross was on the same position as he, Gregory, but Ross worked on fewer projects than he did. Ross often declined to volunteer on projects so that he was never working more than two high profile projects. Unlike Ross, he always eagerly volunteered for such projects and was often overwhelmed with four or even five such projects at once. Ross seemed to have the same respect and praise rom management that he did, seemed to be free to enjoy both his jib and his family. Was Marie right about him being a slave to his own success?

He no longer enjoyed his job. He spent very little time in what was supposed to be his dream home. In the last five years his family had gone on vacation without him. He always had some type of deadline to meet. What was it his minister had said about being in faith rather than being in fear? What had been said about trusting in God? He realized that he didn’t trust anyone, but himself to support his dreams. He had to be in control of things around him, but those things actually controlled him. Did he trust himself and Spirit enough to step back and make time for his family before he loses them? Once he was a man who had enjoyed both his work and his family. Now he enjoyed neither. Could he let an assignment bypass him this time?

Taking a deep breath, he restrained from volunteering for any of the new assignments being offered. He already had two major projects that he was working on and had just completed a third that he had volunteered to do. He watched his manager’s eyes widen in surprise when he didn’t volunteer for an additional assignment. It had been difficult for him not to volunteer, but he felt as if his chest opened up and he could breathe. Now he could concentrate on his two assignments which were manageable within normal working hours.

He was shocked as the clock read six p.m. when he pulled into the driveway next to Marie’s car.

“Marie, I’m home!” he called out as he entered the house.

“Gregory?!” she said coming into the entry hall to stare in surprise at him.

“Yes, I’m home. I decided I wanted my family more than being a slave to my ambition. It won’t be easy for me to give up control, but I don’t want to be a slave to anything anymore,” he explained to her.

“Then come, let’s eat so that you can attend your daughter’s harp recital. She’s really very good,” she said as she led him into the kitchen.

He had made a choice for change, a choice to trust in God and he felt that he would be the better for it.

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