Open

In classic Wilson decision-making style, we decided to visit the beach over the weekend Saturday morning. We packed haphazardly, hopped in the car, and headed straight for the ocean.

Side Note: My little corner of heaven will be filled with the sounds of crashing waves, rolling winds, Bach’s Suite for Cello in D, and Eva’s baby laughter. I love the ocean.

This morning we got up at 7:00 AM, had breakfast at our favorite spot with our favorite waitress, and got back on the beach by 9:00 AM.

First, we built an epic sand castle.

20120415-144257.jpg

The only thing that could have made building this better would be my sister’s help. She should have totally been here instead of plowing through her last month of college.

And then, Eva made a friend.

20120415-144623.jpg

This sweet little girl is about a year younger than Eva, had the cutest little Charlotte drawl, and was a doll. They took a couple minutes to warm up to each other but, without even saying hi, they were best friends.

They ran and screamed and dug holes and fetched water back and forth in pails.

They laughed and shared and talked and splashed and played in the mud.

Looked like they had a marvelous time.

It was beautiful watching them. They’d never met before. They kept forgetting each others’ name. But they didn’t disagree, they shared their toys, they compromised. They played well.

Halfway into their playtime, I started to wonder why adults can’t always do that. I hadn’t talked to the little girl’s mom and she hadn’t spoken to me; her mom was sitting in her chair reading while the girls played near our chairs. Eventually, we talked and got to know each other a bit. Their beach house is just around the corner from ours so I hope we run into them again over the summer.

But if it hadn’t been for Eva and her daughter playing together, it would not have even occurred to me to introduce myself or speak to her.

Now, to be fair to myself, I introduce myself to strangers constantly for work (sales) so it’s not like I’m some crazy snob or anything.

Ok, maybe I have some innate snobbery but I am trying to work on it, thanks.

But what I am curious about is how many meaningful interactions we miss out on as adults. Our little girls were so open to each other, so uncomplicated, so ready to be great friends. Granted, their interests are much simpler: play and play and…yeah, that’s it. Just play. Where as adults have a huge range of interests and belief systems. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look at people (at least initially) with the hope that there could be a friendship waiting.

I want to be more open. We’ve been back in North Carolina for over two years now and I am just starting to feel some roots taking hold. I blame myself for not getting us out there and finding/making more meaningful connections. But a new church home and some really solid friendships that have grown beautifully in the past year give me a basket of hope that more roots will settle soon.

What kinds of friendship and love can we add to our lives by just being a little bit more open? I am eager I find out.

Advertisements

When No Means Yes

Before I get to the intended topic, I just have to say I had my first search engine driven view yesterday! They searched for “downton abbey and wilkie collins ‘the moonstone.'” Yes. If you come back, let’s be friends. I can tell we like the same things.

Now, the post…

My daughter, Eva, developed an interesting habit a year or so ago. Sometimes, when she really wants to answer a question with “yes,” she’ll respond with “no.” Do your kids do that? I know she is just being stubborn and testing my resolve to give her what she wants–especially after she has been cranky or in trouble–but it can be bewildering.

Example: Meltdown early in the morning, couldn’t decide what to have for breakfast, wanted bacon and we only had sausage. What grief. Mom thinks, “let’s turn this around.”

“Eva, do you want to go the the park?”

She eyes me warily.

“No…” and subtly conveys, “how dare you offer me something I like after all this commotion?”

“Ok, we don’t have to.”

WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH.

It is so frustrating to be offering her a chance to redeem what has been an awful morning/afternoon/experience and have her deny the good things out of sheer willfulness.

Let’s condense that thought…

It is so disappointing when I offer her grace for her behavior and she rejects it because she knows she doesn’t “deserve” it.

…reflective pause…

On Thursday, I received a ridiculously well-timed and meaningful gift from a buyer-turned-friend, “The Renegade Writer.” It’s a guide to freelance writing. I would dearly love to write full-time. Truly, that is my dream job. Sometimes, I dream about running off and saving the world but really… writing. Writing is what keeps me going. And the moment I pulled back the wrapping paper and saw the title, I felt something start settling in my soul. A piece fell into place. Peace began to unfold.

Yesterday morning, I had a job interview. I knew pretty quickly that, while the employer was very enthused about my potential, I am overqualified to the extreme and worth way beyond the offered salary. I knew at least three people had prayed that I would have a clear yes or no feeling after the interview, so it was easy to focus on being thankful for the no rather than disappointed at the closed door. So I applied for a few more jobs afterwards, to buoy my own spirits and stay on the right track.

Then yesterday afternoon, I heard from my buyer-turned-friend; she had a few last minute orders for the store. I played delivery girl and we were chatting afterwards about her plans. She mentioned starting a blog about value wines in the local area. (Many times, wine reviewers focus on the expensive bottles and who really wants to spend $60 on their table wine?) I casually offered to write a restaurant review accompaniment for her…but as we talked through it a little more, light bulbs started flashing, there may have even been a neon sign lit up over my head. We are going to lunch next week to brainstorm. Plus, earlier in the week I’d actually called one of my best friends about blogging our dating adventures (hers for upbeat “that shit’s funny” hilarity, mine for “gosh, I’m glad that happened to her, not me” hilarity/gravity) and gotten an affirmative from her as well.

Looking back on the week now, the “no” of the interview yesterday is at the bottom of the list. I don’t even care that it didn’t work out like I hoped, in fact I’m GLAD it didn’t. Why? What if my eyes and ears had been clouded over with a yes from that interview yesterday? Would I have heard the opportunity when my buyer-friend spoke? Would I have even offered to write with her? Would I still be excited about the other blog my best friend and I might write? Probably not. Most likely, I would have been too excited about the job to notice what was in front of me.

I would have been focusing on the wrong yes.

Like I said, I was gifted discernment and peace over seeing that door close in the interview. But how often do we see doors closing without seeing an open window nearby? How often do closed doors feel like punishment? How often do we perceive an open window to be covered with bars when it is only our own hesitation (or even fear and shame) blocking us?

It’s arresting to reflect on things that have happened in my past and wonder what I missed because I didn’t believe I deserved the chance, that I didn’t deserve to be happy. That, like Eva, I said no because I thought it was just a tease or there were conditions on it I couldn’t possibly meet.

Maybe God has only been leading me with closed doors because I wasn’t leaping with faith through the open ones. Because it was easier for me to function knowing what I couldn’t do, rather than all that had been made possible (remember, the unknown is scary?). Lately, my prayer has been to clearly see His way and follow it. Basically for Him to push me through the right door.

Today, I consider myself shoved. Now, if someone can please make sure I don’t turn around and run the wrong direction? Thanks.

Don’t let the no’s get in your way; sometimes, they’re a yes in disguise.