In the first few months after I lost my son, I was asked to be involved in something really wonderful. An opportunity that would be both fun and distracting. Something that, at another time, I would have said yes to in a heartbeat.
I said no.
No, I was not ready.
No, I did not want to be in front of people.
No, I didn’t think it was the right time.
That first year I said no to a lot of new things.
No to Bible studies and class reunions and parties. No to invitations and jobs and opportunities.
No, I don’t feel like it.
No, I don’t want to go.
No, I can’t, sorry.
In the year after my son’s death, I needed time and space and solitude in order to grieve. I needed to process things and take time to heal, even if there would never be closure.
I said no to busyness. I said no to good opportunities and nice people.
No to events that cluttered my schedule without feeding my soul.
It wasn’t no forever. It was no for now.
In the process I learned that no for now is the best way to say yes to what I really need.
No, I’m not ready.
No, but thank you anyway.
By saying no, I said yes to healing.
Yes to grieving.
Yes to finding what life looked like after loss.
Yes to finding hope and to living life differently and from learning from my grief.
I said yes to time with God, family and myself.
Instead of pursuing goals and making money and reaching my dreams, I spent time with the people I loved and tried to put back the pieces of my life.
I took walks, wrote a lot of terrible things, and read books on grief.
I spent time observing life and seeing things through the lens of grief, like the way the red leaves blanketed the ground in Fall or how the river froze into broken pieces.
It was the best thing I ever did for myself in the year after the loss of my son.
I took a time-out from life by saying yes to less.
I took a break from the busyness that breeds barrenness, from the rat race that leads to nowhere, from the pursuit of things that look satisfying, but in the end, aren’t.
While others got promotions, built bigger houses and lived life to the fullest, I hustled less, listened more, and let go.
I stepped away and said, No, thank you.
By saying no, I gave myself the best yes.
I said yes to seeing the beauty of life, to loving more, to living better.
It was the best yes because it was the one thing I really needed. The ability to say no to all that didn’t matter, so I could say yes to what I really needed.
There is a season for stepping away and healing, and another season for finding your way again.
Yes to less.
My gift to you! A free download of the Yes to Less Manifesto. Feel free to share it with friends.
Let’s say yes to less and yes to life and yes to love.