Saying Yes

I was dialing the cell phone number of one my oldest, closest friends.

Aviva and her closest friend were taking a bath together.

“Mama? Don’t come in here ok? I mean, do not look behind the shower curtain!”

Naturally, I went in and peeked behind the shower curtain. My friend’s phone was now ringing. Nothing doing in the tub; just a couple of girls playing and several dozen stick-on fish.

Just as I was leaving the bathroom, I heard whispers.

“Want to kiss on the lips?”

Pause. Smack!

“Want to touch tongues?”

Pause. Explosive giggling!

I stifled my own laughter and went into another room to leave a message for my friend, whose voice mail had picked up. I left a three-minute message, including every a single juicy detail, feeling happy for girlfriends, of all ages, of all time.


I actually wrote down that little story sometime over the summer – but it came back to me today. I think I know why.

Tomorrow, I’ll rise before dawn to shower and finish packing, to place gift bags for Pearl and Aviva on the kitchen table, each one filled with identical containers of chocolate-covered sesame seeds and little containers of bubble bath (I learned the hard way not to get them different things at times like this, as they inevitably want each other’s stuff). I’ll kiss Greg in the dark and go wait on the curb for a cab. From the Burlington airport, I’ll fly to JFK, and then to Seattle, where I’ve never been. And then I will drive to Acme, Washington, to spend two nights with a small group of women.

The purpose of this weekend is so simple that it’s almost hard to explain. The friend whose idea it was, who organized and planned it and pulled it all together, has described it as simply a chance to come together, to nourish ourselves, to see and be seen, to experience connection, to rest, to just be – with no agenda per se. It’s not a workshop or a retreat. We will simply see what happens. I have spent time like this with friends before. The difference here is that I have only met one of these women, a beautiful writer and friend and soul-sister, someone I first encountered right here in the blogosphere.

When I received her invitation – which was handmade and filled with calming and inspiring poems and words – my initial, instinctive reaction was to think: no, I can’t do this. I don’t get to do this kind of thing. It’s too far, it’s too expensive, it’s too exotic, it’s too self-indulgent, it’s too unknown, it’s too unreasonable, it’s too hard to justify.

And for all of these reasons, I used up every last one of our frequent flyer miles, bought a ticket, and said yes instead. Yes to the unknown and the unreasonable. Yes to pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, which ironically is going to land me in the most comfortable zone of all – in the company of women. Yes to trusting that Greg will be fine and the girls will be fine without me. Yes to having something to offer. Yes to being seen, even with an awful cold sore on my bottom lip. Yes to traveling alone, reclaiming that part of my life and myself that I love and miss. Yes to yes. It is so very hard to leave, which is exactly why I’m doing it.

What do you instinctively say “no” to that you could try saying “yes” to?

11 thoughts on “Saying Yes

  1. GailNHB says:

    Have a fantastic time out there. Enjoy. Breathe. Laugh. Write. Be.

    I love that final question. I will give it some thought: what can I say “yes” to tonight or tomorrow???


  2. Rowena says:

    Almost everything. No is my default setting. I work hard on getting myself to say yes… and when I do, generally really good things happen.

    Say yes to life, that’s what we should do.


  3. Holly says:

    i’m so glad you are going, jena. i’m so proud of you for saying yes, even with your cold sore (i get ’em too, and there’s nothing worse). and i say no to new situations all the time, just because my couch seems like a much better idea.
    you inspire me to think bigger and opener. so to speak.
    have a wonderful time.


  4. Honey says:

    someone told me he gave up smiling for lent, when I asked why he said try it and see.. i recoiled, i can’t my kids need those smailes i need the smiles i work to keep a smile most days it’s how i interact it’s how i communicate i can’t imagine a life without smiles, and yet,
    the thought to try it for a period of time, would mean i guess you would explore other ways of reassuring and loving people and showing warmth, you would have to work harder and more conciously at a smile that came from within and was found through your actions rather than rested easy on your lips… i’ll not be doing it, the kids i maintain need my smiles, but still it was worth thinking about, that recoiled ‘no’.
    sounds perfect your break away, enjoy!


  5. Pingback: Jena Strong


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