There’s Something About Small Yeses

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Claire Colvin -Loves Sm Yeses4The other day I got a text a little before 7am. I was still in bed, reading and trying to swim up to the surface of consciousness. My first response was to ignore it. Then I was curious and the adult part of my brain remembered that sometimes people text early in the morning because something has gone wrong. I read the text—a friend asking me to take a look at a project she was about to ship and again, I thought, “Later.” I remember specifically thinking, “I don’t have time for that right now” and then going right back to reading an article from Buzzfeed on my phone.

Wait a minute.

I sat up in bed. If I had time to read “The Hardest Hamilton Lyrics Test You’ll Ever Take!” I had time for this. I had time right now. I read the text again, opened the project and took a look. It took less than ten minutes to be able to respond to my friend’s text with some feedback that actually helped. We texted back and forth a few times and later that morning the project went live with just the right words. I got to both encourage my friend and be one of the first to see the thing she’d been working on. I had time. It wasn’t the most convenient thing, but I had time.

I’m discovering that small detours matter.

Sometimes we’re asked to help and it’s a giant, heroic thing. But other times, the help needed is pretty small. The ask isn’t so big and when I say yes to that, when I’m willing to step just a little out of my way, great things can happen.

Last month a friend of mine needed someone to sit with her girls while she had some tests done. It was an hour out of the day, and my schedule is flexible right now. I could do it. And because I said yes I got to spend an hour reading to three delightful little girls— something that I love and something that I don’t get to do very often. A couple of weeks before that I went over to another friend’s house and put her daughter’s hair up for a Renaissance project she was doing at school. It was within my power to help, and the ask was small, but it was something she needed. And I got to help out with homework, again, something that is not part of my everyday experience. I don’t have kids, so these common things are not common for me.

There are little moments of gold hidden in small yeses.

Of all the things that Ann Voskamp has said, the thing that sticks with me the most is this: “You love as well as you are willing to be inconvenienced.”

Isn’t that incredible? Love is inconvenient. Love takes the long way round. Love does the same dumb, boring thing over and over and over again. Love does the dishes. Love doesn’t wait to be asked. Love slows down.

I forget so often that speed can be a form of selfishness. Let’s go, let’s go, hurry up, yes, fine, just get in the car. I don’t have kids but I still catch myself hurrying things along. Hurry up, you’re wasting my time. But love doesn’t do that.

Love makes time. Love stirs another can of tomatoes into the stew and says, “Yes, there’s enough, come sit at the table.”

I see this interplay of fast and slow so often at the food bank where I volunteer. It’s so easy to run through the questions quickly, thoughtlessly. What kind of cereal would you like today? Peanut butter? Smooth or crunchy. I’m sorry we don’t have any jam today. But when I take the time to ask, “How are you?” and pause and let them speak, there is often so much that needs to be said.

So many of them are on a detour. So many are thinking, What the heck! And as I listen to their stories, I am thinking it too. How did they get there from here?

There was a woman last week who couldn’t sleep from the pain in her tooth and she had to cancel the dentist appointment because they got illegally evicted and they had to pay for a place to sleep.  There is so much I cannot do to help, but I can say yes to listening and that matters.

Saying yes to small inconveniences requires me to consider that my needs are not the most important and goodness, selfishness is a hard lesson to un-learn. But I know that so often God works through the hands and feet of his people and when you have a chance to play a small part in what God is doing, who says no to that?

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