A few years ago my friend Jan taught me the importance of saying yes when life hands you an unexpected opportunity to try something challenging or learn something new (or, as she puts it, “at times you would ordinarily just go home”).
It’s an approach to life I’ve tried to intentionally develop. In 2002 I was asked to move from Cincinnati to Orange County, California and restructure a company in an industry I knew nothing about. In 2005 I agreed to blog for Christian Standard despite wondering what on earth I had to say and who would read it. In 2006 I vetoed finding a safe job in favor of moving to Nashville and freelancing. Last year I completed a successful summer kickball season after a friend asked me to join his team (successful defined as “I broke nothing on my body or anyone else’s”).
Even with all these somewhat risky choices, until recently I did not resonate with Jan’s remark that saying yes to life is radical, because I also said no to quite a few things. No, I won’t date a pastor—who wants to be a minister’s wife? No, I will not live anywhere cold again—four years of Pennsylvania tundra during college was quite enough. No thanks, no long-distance relationships.
Then, last September, a long-time reader of this blog emailed me, asking if we could continue the conversation and get to know each other. He was a pastor. In Philadelphia.
But I said yes.
After a few weeks, he asked if he could call. Hmmmmmmmm. Alright. I said yes. (We ended up talking from 9 pm to 5 am.)
Soon after he asked if I would come visit and meet him in person. Yikes. Yes. The “no return after this point” signs at the airport exit take on a whole new meaning in this scenario.
He asked if I would like to meet his children. He asked if I would visit a second time, then a third. He asked if I liked his kids. He asked if I would join them for part of their summer vacation, which included several long drives in a Chevy Malibu with two preteens and a 70-pound Siberian Husky.
Yes. Yes. YES. Ummmm…..okay.
And last week he presented me with a little ribbon-tied box and, along with his wonderful son and daughter, asked if I would marry him and end a decade of boring-but-familiar single life and move to Philly and be a pastor’s wife and a stepmom with an unpredictable, anything-but-boring life.
And I said yes.