yes, and.

I went away for a week with one carry-on suitcase and a big purse. Packing is one of my spiritual gifts. The only thing that I forgot was to grab a notebook and a pen when I switched purses. Who goes to a writing workshop without a notebook and a pen? Apparently I do.

I took only books that I have read before, because I had a hunch that my brain would be broken and that I would need the comfort of stories I already knew. This led to me crying in a coffee shop as I finished Take This Bread by Sara Miles, so it was possibly not my greatest move. Steph at least pretended not to notice.

On the plane rides home, I blessedly didn’t have to talk to anyone, so I re-read Angry Conversations with God in its entirety. Did I mention flying to Nashville to attend a retreat with Susan Isaacs last fall? She and I talked about the hill of foreskins cheesecake. As you do.

Mike and I recently discussed the idea of parenting with the word yes. I read something a few months ago that stuck with me about responding to kids with yes rather than no. Yes, you can have dessert! As soon as you finish that broccoli. Yes, we can go outside. Let’s change your diaper and then do that. It is a small thing, but it has felt good to say yes to Atticus as much as possible, to try to save my no for important or dangerous things.

When Susan Isaacs talked in her book about improv, she said that the rule of improv is to say, “Yes, and.” You never cut off someone with a no response. Instead, you build the story. Even if you don’t like what someone else started, you build on it and take the next step. I thought about parenting and also my own vow to say yes to things this year when I read that.

For many years, I thought there was a script for life. There were ways I was supposed to act and words I was supposed to say. It turns out that life is more like an improv show. Saying yes, and . . . to things this year is helping me to feel more confident in my choices and in who I am as this story unfolds. It is a reminder to me of what the holy mystery of co-creation with God looks like.

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