The Secret To an Extraordinary Life? Say Yes
I've been reading the the archives at Katie's blog and I had a thought. (I never read through archives by the way. I've not got the time. But in her case I wanted to see the start of the story, how did she get to where she is now with all of those children and the sponsorship program and the many kids she feeds and pays for school for?)
Last night I read the story of how she first came to be the mother of 3 little girls at age 19. She started out just taking care of them because the wall of their house fell in one night on top of one of the girls, their mother was recently dead, and they had no where to live. She started out just making sure the injured girl had medical care and food, and that the little ones had a place to stay. She ended up, the next day, signing guardianship papers. Here's the thing, she didn't say no. It wasn't what she expected, it took her completely by surprise, but she didn't say no. As I read her story that's the consistent element in it, when something else comes her way, another need, another person to love, she says yes.
That got me thinking about other people I admire. I found the same theme. They said yes, when they could have said no. Mother Theresa saw a person dying on the street and she said "Yes, I will take care of him." That wasn't the first and by far not the last yes she ever said. She said it over and over again.
Do you know about Jackie Pullinger-To, founder of St. Stephens Society in Hong Kong? Every year they take in thousands of heroin addicts of the street and get them clean and change their lives. When she was 18 God told her to get on a ship and travel until He said get off, and it was Hong Kong. She said yes. And she said yes again to every heroin addicted boy who crossed her path, in spite of a lot of trouble, and incentive to quit.
Pauline Fell started Jacob's Well in downtown Vancouver when she was 60!
In 1976, at the age of 60, a woman by the name of Pauline Fell began walking the streets in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Although she was a new Christian she asked God what He wanted her to do with her life, and felt His prompting to befriend people in the neighbourhood. For the next 25 years, almost every day, she faithfully walked the streets and alleys, visited the bars, prisons, local hospitals and hotels where her many friends could be found. She is known to many as “sister” or “mom” and virtually everyone in the downtown eastside respects this elderly woman. She has shown deep and profound love for the people who live here.She said "yes".
Mary, mother of Jesus. "May it be unto me as you have said." She said yes.
Elizabeth Elliot and her friends, when asked if they would come and live with and teach the tribe that killed their husbands because they wanted to know why the men hadn't defended themselves with the guns they carried said, "Yes." Imagine that. The Auca tribe is completely different as a result of that journey.
Would you say yes? Do you?
Do you want to live an extraordinary life? Do you want to have a story worth listening to? Say yes.
Do you say yes every time God sends you someone to love, some way to help relieve suffering, or show compassion? Or do you say "No, I don't want to do that." or, "I can't do that."
I am convinced that no one begins their journey knowing how to do what they end up doing, or even where they will end up. I am convinced that saying yes, rather than no, will lead to a much fuller richer life that will be a blessing to others. After all the first step is always simple. It often doesn't look like it leads anywhere important at all. Or if it does it looks frightening. But it's always simple. Just sign a piece of paper. Just stop and smile at the person you want to ignore. Focus on the next thing, which I promise will be within your power to accomplish, and trust that you will find the strength to finish, one step, one yes, at a time.
I can say that 2 years ago I never dreamed I would be a founder, director and administrator of a non-profit that kept 35 kids alive and in school next year with plans to do much more than that this year. I for sure didn't know how. (I'm still not sure I really know how, but something seems to be working alright.) But there was this need, and no one else to fill it, so here I am.
I didn't imagine 8 years ago that I would ever be an experienced mother, or considered wise on the subject by anyone. (That still surprises me when someone says that.) But here I am, one step at a time, one yes at a time later, doing what needs to be done more often than what I'd like to do, and I'm getting there.
I want to be able to look back on my life and know I've said "Yes" every time. Don't you? I think it's the people who say yes that will change the world.
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