When You Can’t Figure Out What the Answer Should Be
Snow falls outside the window, whispers.
I lie on her bed, listening to white. In the grey, night changes into a sweater of day and branches of the bare lilac slips on lace.
She cups into me. She’s listening too. Her and I, we often lie together in the early and plan.
“Mmmmm…” I murmur into her nest of curls.
“Mama… today… could I…” she turns and those eyelashes, gold whispers, brush my cheek. Her hands embrace my face and her breath falls warm, desperate.
“Oh, I just know…” Her eyes, dark stars, entreat. “I just know you are going to say No.“
In her eyes, I can see mine and I am known for no.
No, you can’t and no, that’s not a good idea and no, put that away. For no, we aren’t going and no, let’s not and no, not now. (Oh, sweet child… and to think when they first laid you in my arms, you were all my yeses!)
She can’t know of the all the other ones I only speak to myself, about myself, for myself. No, you can’t be that — no, you can’t do that — no good, no chance, no hope. (Oh, to be gentle with self. Grace always embraces…)
Or the ones I try to veil, the ones I shamefully stomp at God? No, I don’t want this! No, I’m not doing that! No, don’t change this, no, leave that alone, no, don’t muck this up, no, no, no! (Oh, but You said yes to me before time began, yes to me in Christ with the arms nailed wide…)
What we speak to others, is what we speak to ourselves, is what we speak to God.
I have wrecked whole decades with that two letter “no” that falls from the end of my tongue, steady drip of a faulty tap. With two-letters of the heavy iron, I’ve crushed child-dreams… my dreams… God-dreams. What that one word hasn’t broken. We walk wounded and I can’t think how God bears the scars.
True, it’s the mantra of national campaigns, “Just say No.” It’s what is suggested you learn to say in an effort to simplify your life in the face of constant demands on time: “Learn to say No.” Well and good.
But I look straight into her, mirroring straight into me, and I know this is the year: I am done with “no”.
The Babe in the manger’s but a few days old, He who gave Himself His own name, for He knew, He knew: Emmanuel, “God with Us.” The Babe has a name, name that breathes the wonder-hope. But the new year about to birth, it still needs christening.
With the palm of her hand resting on my cheek, it comes to me, what I’ll name my new year:
This is the year of Yes.
When 2009 came swaddled in January, I had looked upon it and it named itself like a child often does: The year named itself Communion. My hours, my days, my heart, they needed not more things, more stuff, more consumption. I needed communion. After 365 days, I yearn for more — not more consumption, but more communion.
And Yes is my 2010 answer to His invitation to come into Communion.
Yes, as in:
“Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Luke 10:21
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” John 21:16
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
Yes, let this moment be just as You intend it! Yes, Your will be done not mine! Yes — You propose, ask for my life and an eternity to love– and I say Yes!
This is the year of yes, to look in the mirror and say, “Yes, He made you this way and it is very good! Yes, you can try! Yes, be creative! Yes, laugh and yes, give it a whirl, and yes, it’s really okay, don’t be afraid!”
This is the year of yes, to kneel down and peer into eager faces and say, “Yes, you can, yes, that’s an ingenious idea, yes, make that, yes, yes, yes!”
Does No ever really need to be said? Isn’t there always something else to say yes to?
Yes, honor, yes, love God with your whole heart, yes, submit to one another, yes, say YES to Love and Christ and Grace, and Now and YES!
Every commanded ‘shalt not’ ultimately asks us say Yes to God.
Could I try?
I don’t tuck a stray curl behind her ear. I hold it. I hold a whisp of curl and she peers into me and I laugh and we rub noses.
Snow falls and I whisper with winter and the good gifts coming down from Father, “Yes! I say Yes!”
She squeezes my face tight. “Really, Mama?”
“Yes, we will find something to say yes to!”
She giggles glee.
We slip out of bed and into a fresh new year.
Into the year of Yes.
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.”
~ 2 Corinthians 1:19
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