THIS I BELIEVE – Just say yes!
I believe that many activities along life’s way have been more rewarding to me because I often dared to “just say yes”!
“Just say no” was not the catch phrase when I was growing up, as Nancy Reagan had not yet coined this expression. When I began to take on difficult projects in school, then later in work, in my family, and in my community at large, saying “no” to a worthy challenge just wasn’t in my vocabulary. I have never liked saying “no” because it meant more than just refusing to do something; it was admitting that I either didn’t want to do it, or I wasn’t able to do it. Both reasons are contrary to my nature.
As I look back, I believe that one of the greatest on-going satisfactions in life was to say “yes” with confidence, to take on more than the norm, and to stretch my mind and my abilities. To achieve positive results when entering the unknown is an unspeakable reward. I enjoyed proving not only that I could do it, but also that someone else benefited greatly BY my doing it.
In many instances among my peer group, I have noticed that saying “no” can be an excuse for laziness, lack of inspiration, or fear of failing. I have been often quizzed by friends and family . . .”Don’t you know how to say no?” Or, “Please don’t volunteer again!”
Even though I am now seventy years old, I still don’t like to say “no” when I’m asked to take on a new responsi-bility. In fact, I’m flattered that one may think that I CAN do it. I’m recharged with the challenge. I get pumped, and the adrenalin starts to flow again. I probably take on more than I am physically or mentally able to do these days; but that wonderful, exhilarating exhaustion, that tired but fulfilling body hurt, makes me proud that “Yes, I Can”, once more, do a difficult task. There is no substitute for that overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.
I am blessed that I have lived a life of continually trying to learn new things, to meet new people, and to work with generous groups of all types. What a boring, empty and selfish existence it would have been without these experiences and the meaningful lessons learned in the classroom of life. I would never have had an insight into illiteracy, the lives of the homeless, or the loneliness of the aged. I would not have experienced working with underprivileged youth on a tennis court, tutoring slow students, or cooking and delivering needed meals. My life would be less complete if I hadn’t worked with precious pre-school Hispanic children and their struggling parents at a special learning center. Saying “no” as a habit would have kept me in a box or at a bridge table. To the latter, I did say “no”.
Former President Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light” theme, or Barack Obama’s cry of “Yes we Can”, bring renewed meaning to the need and the opportunities for volunteerism in our depressed world. More than ever, I am compelled to “just say yes!”
In closing, I feel that my greatest, and truly my only fear, is that I’m running out of time to attempt all that I still want to achieve. My selfish prayer is for continued good health, both physical and mental, and the time to do more. I hope my final activity of life is the most challenging one yet, and that my last words are “Yes – I can do that!”
This I believe.