The Choice


Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8).

Mom left the decision up to us. How could she! Oh, I knew which choice was right. It’s just that the wrong choice was so appealing. And really, it didn’t seem as bad as all that.

I lay sprawled across my bed with my chin in my hands. I looked at my sister. Yes, she was thinking about it too. She had a peaceful, determined look on her face. Traitor! I knew what she had decided.

Maybe I’d better start at the beginning. My name is Susie, and my sister’s name is Karen. We were born eleven months apart, and we are the best of friends.

Yesterday, Stephanie, one of our non-LDS friends, brought over a birthday invitation. It sounded like so much fun! It was a swimming party and barbecue.

Stephanie’s pool is gorgeous. It’s made of colorful ceramic tiles. And there’s a beautiful waterfall that cascades down a miniature rock mountain into the pool, a diving board, and a spiral slide. Karen and I were really excited about going—until we checked the calendar.

“Oh no!” I groaned. “July 10th is on a Sunday!”

“Mom and Dad are never going to let us go,” Karen said. “We might as well call Stephanie right now.”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Maybe if we tell Mom and Dad how much we want to go—and that we won’t be rowdy—they’ll let us go.”

Karen looked doubtful but agreed to wait.

We decided to clean up the house to surprise Mom when she got home from visiting teaching. Karen did the dishes and cleaned the bathroom. I dusted, straightened, and vacuumed. The house looked great!

“Wow! Somebody’s been busy!” Mom exclaimed as she walked in the door. Her eyes twinkled, and she smiled.

“Surprise!” we yelled. “You’ve been working so hard, we thought you could use some extra help today,” I added, winking at Karen.

Mom smiled again and went upstairs, humming to herself. Our idea certainly seemed to be working!

Mom came downstairs a few minutes later. It was her turn to cook dinner. “Well, it looks like we have a choice of spaghetti or french dip sandwiches. What do you think, girls?”

“French dip,” I said.

“Spaghetti,” said Karen.

“Spaghet—” I started to say.

“French—” said Karen at the same time. All three of us laughed.

“Oh—I just realized that I forgot to pick up mix for the dip at the store,” Mom said. “Looks like it’s spaghetti for dinner.”

The kitchen came to life with the clatter of pans and singing. In a few minutes the heavenly aroma of Italian spices and garlic filled the air. The timing seemed perfect.

“Mom, guess what?” I said.

“We got an invitation to Stephanie’s birthday party this weekend,” Karen said, handing Mom the invitation.

“Isn’t that nice! This sounds like fun—swimming and a barbecue and—oh-oh! It’s on Sunday!”

Mom looked sympathetically from my disappointed face to Karen’s. “You girls know what Dad and I have always taught you, and what you’ve learned in Primary. I trust you girls to make this decision. You have been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I want you to think seriously about this. When you have made a decision, ask Heavenly Father if the choice is right. If it is, the Holy Ghost will let you know by helping you feel peaceful and good inside. Dad and I will support whatever choice you make.”

Karen and I walked slowly back to the bedroom we shared to think it over.

I flopped down on my bed. I had to admit that Mom was smart. We would make the right choice because we’d feel too guilty if we didn’t.

I decided right then that I was going to outsmart Mom. It was just a little party, after all. It wasn’t so bad, was it? As I tried to convince myself, I began feeling uncomfortable. A small, hard lump formed in my throat. I swallowed it and decided I was going to the party, anyway.

That was when I looked over at Karen. She had just finished praying and was sitting quietly on her bed. She had a sweet, peaceful look on her face. I could tell she would need to be convinced.

My sister and I talked a long time. She was calm and self-assured. I was defiant and stubborn. Karen finally convinced me that we should pray together. As we got up from our prayer, we hugged and smiled at each other, then went to the phone.

After dinner, while Dad was loading the dishwasher and Mom was dipping up pistachio ice cream for dessert, Dad asked, “Have you girls decided what to do?”

“Yes,” Karen and I answered together.

The day of the party was the kind of hot day that made you want to sit in the shade of a huge tree with a tall, cool glass of soda pop. It was the perfect day for a swimming party. Karen and I grabbed suits, towels, and a shimmering pink package and walked excitedly to Stephanie’s house.

We rang the doorbell. There stood Stephanie with a big grin on her face.

“Thanks for changing the party to Saturday!” I said.

“Yeah. It must have been a lot of extra work having to call everyone,” Karen added.

“It wouldn’t have been any fun without my best friends. Besides I think it’s neat that you stand up for what you believe.”

The three of us walked back to the pool, arm in arm. The party was even more fun than I had imagined.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker