Just One Yes

I was watching The Voice one night, and a contestant was asked what he would like to say to those watching his journey. He said, “Remember, no matter how many times you hear the word no, it just takes one yes.”

Great advice, I thought, to those waiting for their “turn” at something in life. But then I began thinking about my own life. Are there any yeses left for me? Not in a hopeless way, but in a realistic way.

I am not waiting for that perfect job, or opportunity, or relationship. I’m not waiting for my chance to do something big. I have been thinking about his words for a while because I always want there to be hope for more. It’s just that more looks different at this stage.

I began to realize that, at this point in life, there is plenty of more to be had. It’s just that it cannot come from others.

I want more peace, more kindness, more compassion. I want more stillness, more pauses, more wisdom. I want to give more, whether a hug to someone at work having a hard day, an ear to someone who needs to process thoughts, a meal to someone who needs some help, an actual handwritten card to to someone on our mind, a kind word to anyone because there’s no one who doesn’t need that.

So it still takes just one yes. The only difference is that at this season, it comes from within. It comes from giving ourselves permission to be completely authentic to the person we are becoming—kinder, wiser, more compassionate, less judgmental, more at peace with our circumstances and the world around us. 

It is basically saying yes to hope. We have a future that depends on saying yes to every possibility for more of what’s real, true, and beautiful. Because without that, we are living a life that focuses more on aging than thriving.

We can all hear a YES if we stop looking around us and listen to what’s already inside us. At the end of the day, let’s take note of the yeses we have heard. We may find we hold the secret to surprising ourselves with hope every single day.


One of the benefits of “second half” living is that we can escape noise more easily. While I don’t like the hour I wake up these days, it gives me plenty of time to sit in the quiet.

Listening to Christmas music the other day, I was struck by the familiar line in It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: “The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.”

“Solemn stillness.” The absence of noise is an external place of quiet. But stillness is an internal place of peace. It is in stillness that we can wrestle the noisy and the negative out of our minds.

There is a Bible verse that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still and know. Deep spiritual knowing requires us to be still.  All major religions believe that stillness and the pursuit of inner peace is the foundation to happiness and meaning.“Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.” Lao Tzu

Perhaps we all have this deep need to know that the universe isn’t too big for us, a need to hear a whisper from God, whatever that means for each of us. Because of a painful experience I had with “religion,” I have found it difficult to connect with God in ways I used to. But I have found that God will always find a way to connect with me if I am listening. If I am still.

I believe that God comes through our pain, our sorrow, and our loss to bring us comfort and joy. With all the sadness flowing through our lives, “tidings of comfort and joy” gently usher in the happiness that can sit beside it all.

During this season, may we all find the “solemn stillness” in which we can hear both the angels sing and God whisper. It may look different for each of us, but  after all we’ve been through this year, perhaps we would all benefit if “the world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.” 

May we all be happy. May we all be still. May we all be at peace.