#290 Saying yes

Chad came to visit last week.

We’ve been friends since ninth grade and you may remember him playing important roles in my life like Neapolitan Shake Inspiration, Ticking Clock Monster, or Chocolate Milk Boy Genius.

Chad’s been there for me through the thick and thin. He’s helped me through painful moments because his warm, easygoing manner and big buckets of kindness get people buzzing around him like moths on a porch light.

We lived near each other for fifteen years until his wife Kristen transferred jobs, sending her and Chad into a whole new life amongst the beer-and-cheese-lined streets of Wisconsin.

I don’t see Chad as often anymore so I always get excited when he visits.

Yes, I roll out my Class A Hospitality Treatment which includes an extra set of keys to my apartment, a dusty deflated air mattress yanked to the middle of the floor, and an open invitation to anything in the fridge — which on good days includes bendable carrots, expired butter, and a lone cream-colored pickle floating in a massive jar of brine.

When Chad came by last week it was like no time had passed at all. He wheeled his suitcase in and we plopped on the couch to catch up.

Of course, since I’m about as organized as a nursery school mud room I hadn’t managed to check my plans by Chad before he came over so over the next couple days I bounced a lot of different things off him.

“Hey Chad, I told a couple guys we might grab pizza with them later. It’s totally optional though — what do you think?” (“Sure, sounds great.”)

“Oh listen, I bumped into a friend on the elevator who may swing by later for a drink. Is that cool?” (“Sure, I’d love to meet them.”)

“Look, I’m stuck in the office a bit late tonight. It it alright if we grab dinner at like eight or nine instead?” (“Yeah, that works well. I’ll finish up my blog. No rush.”)

“Are you okay on the air mattress tonight or did you want some blankets on the couch?” (“The air mattress is like sleeping on a cloud. I feel like I’m five living with the Care Bears.”)

We had a great hangout and while he was packing to go home I mentioned that it was really noticeable how he always said yes … and was always up for everything.

“Hmmm…” he said, zippering up his suitcase. “Yeah, I guess I just always try to say yes. Go with the flow.”

We hugged and he jumped in the elevator before heading to the airport.

But his visit got me thinking. Maybe in these days of gung ho goal setting, squeezed schedules, and lofty plans for lofty nights, there was just something refreshing about Chad’s easy grins and Say Yes Philosophy. His soul seemed cool as a silent lake on a Sunday morning and he was generally unflappable by things around him. He found something he liked at the pizza place, made great conversation with my friend, and slept fine every night.

I had a teacher once who used to say “It’s a lot harder to agree with something than disagree.” He’d organize big debates in class and convince us to bravely venture out with arguments we weren’t even sure of ourselves. But with his constant grounding of “It’s a lot harder to agree than disagree” we’d find ourselves trying to say yes and find reasons why afterwards.

They were usually there.

Being around someone who says yes is a great feeling. It makes you say yes back and turns agreement into the norm. Chad’s helped me learn that life feels a lot smoother with big yes’s rounding every corner — there are less banged elbows, slammed doors, and black scribbly clouds floating above heads.

Saying yes is bold.

Saying yes is brave.

And saying yes is absolutely


Say yes to The Book of (Even More) Awesome

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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