The Things We Say Yes To
I said yes to a little green house with a big garden and two rows of fruit trees. It’s like a mansion if your standard were teeny tiny houses. There’s a clothesline here, and the breeze beneath my shade trees is a gentle one. We’ve been waiting for a gentle time. We’ve been waiting for our own space and for silence. We just didn’t know how to find it until I learned how many no’s it takes to make a yes.
I said yes to quiet. The drive into town is longer than I’m used to. I drive in silence. I come home and tell the boys to read. I sit beneath the ceiling fan or on the patio. I reach for my cell phone and jerk my hand back quickly. I sit and watch. Doves blow up from the harvested corn. The pears are beginning to fall.
These are little things that remind me that I am small: the silence and then the burst of insanely loud laughter and wrestling, a dish-stacked kitchen with no dishwasher, a hydrangea with heavy laid-down heads, four hall drawers to fit what used to go in an entire room. This one yes has taken at least a thousand no’s. Only half my clothes fit in the closet. Half is all I needed. When half was all I had, it was all I wanted.
When we said yes to scaling, slowing, and quieting down, it wasn’t really saying yes to less work. We said yes to better work. I said yes to picking squash and researching how to harvest hazelnuts. These are things I love. I said yes to the work of closeness, the children always within the reach of a whisper.
These are little things we’ll look back and remember. I said yes to living small. I said yes to what I call a beautiful life, and it surprises me. Work boots and scrub-gloves on, I can hear God in this place.
Time for a little math. How many good no’s will it take to make one great yes? Start with one. Perhaps say no to answering emails after 5:00, or to TV past 11:00 on a weekday.