Just Say Yes
We all have a lot on our plates these days. We are exhausted and burnt out. More often than not this leads us to say, “I can’t do one more thing. Please don’t ask me.” We hide out or run from anyone who looks like they might even think of approaching us.
Boundaries are good, and I will fully admit that I’ve been guilty of saying yes to too many things, but there’s a problem with the line of thinking that we can only recover or rest when we avoid all commitments. Hiding from everyone and saying NO to everything might not be the perfect solution even though it definitely is a knee-jerk reaction.
Alexander Den Heijer hit the nail on the head when he said, “You often feel tired not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.” We say yes to things we have no business saying yes to; we get burnt out and end up saying NO to everything else. Even things that would be good for us.
I have to admit, if I’m comfortable and feeling cozy or lazy, it takes some force to get me up and out of the house. I feel that way about church sometimes. I would much rather watch it online in my PJs with a cup of coffee in hand, but every time I really show up in person, the experience is so much more. Seeing the people face-to-face just can’t be beaten even by coffee and PJs.
I saw this same issue manifest itself on Friday with a group of friends. There are five of us that used to get together monthly. Every single month. And we had so much to talk about, and we interrupted each other so much that we joked about needing a “talking stick“ and only the person holding it could speak.
Somehow we’ve all gotten too busy to get together or maybe it’s too much of an effort, and we thought this might be one thing we could say NO to. Anyway, on Friday we met and conversation started off just as it always has in the past, but now there were quiet times when we all seemed to be reaching for topics to breach the stillness.
Science has shown that we humans need each other. Human interaction is essential for releasing vital chemicals in our bodies that facilitate our well-being, whether it be physical, emotional, or intellectual. So while getting out and socializing seems counterintuitive, it might just be the solution.
The truth of this was on display yesterday. TreesCharlotte (TreesCharlotte.org), one of the coolest organizations I’ve ever seen, came to McKee Road Saturday. They gave 80 trees, free of charge, to McKee Road Elementary School, Telra Institute, and St Francis United Methodist Church. They dug all the holes, provided shovels, rakes, and expert instructions. If half of the companies ran their organization with the precision, planning, passion, and kindness of these folks, the world would be a better place. In response to the call, tons of volunteers turned out to help. Such nice people.
One of the Treemasters told me it’s a phenomenon he’s witnessed time and time again: everyone is always happy and smiling when they plant trees. He attributed it to the trees; I think maybe it was a mixture of nature and the people.
Although the volunteers came from all over the city, several of them were members of St Francis. As we laughed and cut up, I couldn’t help but think I haven’t socialized with these people enough lately. Busy schedules, conflicting priorities. It’s so easy to balk at being asked to volunteer for “yet another thing” but I think maybe we’re looking at it all wrong. It’s not what we’re being asked to do, it’s what we are being offered: the chance to spend time with like-minded people, the chance to do something beneficial for our world, the chance to boost our own health in the process.
TreesCharlotte gave us the chance to do all those things. I got to spend time with people I love, in a place I love, doing things I love, and I think we’re all still feeling the benefits of that.