Just Say Yes

Just Say Yes!

I was talking with my friend Jennifer. Somewhere during her 20s she decided her anxieties would not get in the way of living. So she started saying “Yes.” Life offered her some rather fascinating assignments. She brought her wisdom into my life.  Last year she gave me a pendant inscribed, “Move and the way will open.” I wear it most days.

I was looking at it one day when it occurred to me that somewhere I had read a quote from the great UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold in which he said pretty much the same thing. I found it in his book, Markings:

At some moment I did answer yes to Someone – or Something – and from that hour I was certain that existence was meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.

The quote gives extra meaning to my favorite Hammarskjold quote, also from Markings:

For all that has been – Thanks! For all that shall be – Yes!

“Yes” becomes harder the older you become. Instead you want to say, “Later.”  But you know good and well the amount of “later” is rapidly diminishing. You’ve already built your kingdom. You’ve slain your dragons. Can’t you just sit back and relax? Well, maybe you can. Maybe you have been driven by the productivity demons, and your “Yes” means it’s time to stop and smell the salty air blowing off the bay. On the other hand, maybe you cannot sit back and relax. Maybe you have been called to say another kind of “Yes,” one that is going to keep you striving in a new direction, for a different cause.

Both of my mentors kept saying yes, one into his late 80s and the other to 99. The almost centenarian called each “Yes” a conversion. He said he had gone through five of them, all involving loss, but all involving a new beginning as well. The writer Mark Nepo says “Yes” is the bravest way to keep leaning into life.

If love makes the world go round, then “Yes” must be the energy that keeps it spinning. Yes, I believe it is.

And so it goes.