In the mail today was a wedding Save The Date from the girl who observed Emma all year. She started in late October and finished up a few weeks ago. We were both mopey about it and she wrote me the sweetest thank you card. Our circumstances don't make us natural friends, but she's marrying the brother of a good friend of mine, so it makes it a bit easier to keep track of her. Plus I've already decided we're going to her wedding. Which is in Montana. Next summer. (WHAT.)
I love that a friend emailed a random request: "Hey, my future sister-in-law is looking for a new baby and mom to observe for an infant development class." And I love that I said yes, even though it really did sound sort of annoying and intrusive and crazy. And I love that it turned out to be AWESOME. I looked forward to her visit every week! Towards the end we were sort of breaking the rules and getting to know each other better and I TOTALLY love that she's inviting us to her WEDDING.
I think the absolute craziest thing I've ever said Yes to was a proposition to hang out in China with a complete stranger for two weeks. It wasn't totally without context - at the time (the first year we were married) Phillip and I had missionary friends in China. They were coming back to the states for the summer, but one of their fellow English teachers was staying behind and housesitting by herself. Our friends told us she was the extroverted type, likely to be very lonely, and they knew we had just turned down our own opportunity to teach English in China for a year. Did we want to just go visit? And hang out with their friend? We could stay in the apartment she was housesitting. She spoke fluent Chinese. China is cheap!
The decision to not go to China ourselves, which I've written about a various times, was painful - a major place of "failure" for me. Plus I was battling big time anxiety and feeling guilty about putting Phillip through the whole rigamarole. To be perfectly honest, China was pretty far down on my list of places to visit, and while it doesn't seem totally strange to me NOW, I was DEFINITELY NOT the sort of person who happily agreed to spend two weeks with a total stranger.
Except we said yes. Why not? We didn't have kids. We had plenty of vacation time and disposable income. We applied for visas, bought our tickets, and prepared for three weeks in China - two and half of them in Xian. We may have emailed once or twice with the girl I blog nicknamed Blondie, but I'm not sure. It didn't matter - when she met us at the airport we were instant friends.
That trip was amazing, in so many different ways. (For one, it kickstarted this blog!) I've lived in a lot of weird places, but China was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. And Blondie - maybe it was weird that a just married couple was hanging out with a single girl they didn't know (and who ended up staying in the apartment with us, even though she had her own) but we clicked so fast and so easily. It was such a healing time for me, almost like a consolation prize from God. We had the best BEST time. We even ended up cutting our sightseeing time in Beijing to spend a few more days with Blondie and the Chinese students we were helping her teach.
The week after Christmas I'm going to Urbana as part of the intercessory prayer team. TOTALLY RANDOM. Yes, one of my best friends happens to be super connected to these sorts of things and if she wasn't already going there's no way I would have even THOUGHT of it. But she's going, she invited me, and even though we didn't really have another set of plane tickets factored into the budget, even though I have to leave early the day after Christmas, even though I'll be gone an entire WEEK, I said yes. Or, rather, Phillip told me I should say yes. I still don't really know what I've gotten myself into. If I think about it too much I start to feel sad about being gone so long, nervous about being gone so long, guilty for being gone so long (you get the picture) and also super intimidated. I've never done anything like this before. But so far, saying yes to the crazy stuff has worked out for me.
A few years ago Emily and Elizabeth were trying to figure out how to get some internet people together, and then we planned this whole weekend in Sacramento, and I was honestly only going to go for an overnight because GAK I'd never been away from my kids before! It was so self-indulgent! It was unfair to my family! But I remember my mom telling me I was crazy not to go two nights and I went for two nights and what is crazier than spending a weekend with people you only know because of your WEBSITE? (What is more AWESOME, am I right?!)
I want to live a life of Saying Yes. Not necessarily to the church committees or school committees or the random day to day stuff. If you say yes to all of that you go crazy and you start to hate everyone. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about sort of the singular stuff, the random stuff you wouldn't have come up with on your own. The things where you'd be, "Well... why not?" I'm lucky I have a husband and family and friends who totally support this kind of thinking, even more than I do sometimes. I feel like my world has expanded so much because of those moments. I know people - I love people - I would have never ever met.
Now you tell me what you've said yes to. :)