He fell onto the couch Monday night, nine o'clock, the kids finally all quiet in their beds, looked at her with a smile and said, "So where you want to go tomorrow?"
The look on her face betrayed her confusion. "You mean camping? I thought we agreed last week that we weren't going to try to go."
"We should go. Can we go?"
She hemmed and hawed, intimidated by the sheer amount of work it would take to pack and load five people, three of whom were under age five, into a car with food and gear, and to a campsite by the next day.
She couldn't outright refuse, in fact, the look in his eyes told her she was going to say yes because she hates to snuff that hope and excitement, the boyish joy of outdoors still living in him.
So she said yes.
Sometimes the hard Yes is the best choice you can make. She keeps seeing all over other women who are working hard to say "No," but her heart is being pulled toward more "Yes." Yes, yes, yes. This Yes, she knew, would mean a flurry of stress and unexpected work but she knew she wouldn't regret it.
They were in the car right after lunch next day, packed to the brim with food, stove, tent, clothes. She was determined to pack as light as she could but to bring the things that would make this Yes a good one. That camp kitchen, the one that pops up in under five minutes and provides a counter-space and a place for the stove... that is a worthwhile space-taker. Those extra outfits she longed to bring for clean clothes changes? Left behind. She determined to believe that really, God really did make dirt and dirt don't hurt.
She turned to see the early morning sun glint off that little girl's golden hair, nearly gasping at the beauty of the simple smile meeting hers. At the quail muttering in the empty campsite nearby, the rabbits bounding through the brush only feet away. Him showing his children the tracks of a raccoon come to water. The woodpecker clicking into the tree overhead. No profound thoughts, no insights. Just a quiet watching. This, she thought, this maybe, is what it means to "treasure up all these things and ponder them in her heart."
His mercies are new every morning. Stumbling out of the tent when the clock read three in the morning, to find a bush with a small child - that requires mercy. Asking forgiveness when her sharp tongue lashes, overwhelmed by the dirt or the need - another mercy required. Hearing the racket of no less than six raccoons scrabbling around our campsite looking for food scraps, seeing the wonder in the eyes of a child at their charming faces - that is mercy. The coo of the mourning dove in the soft glow of morning light; the flop of bass jumping clean out of the water; reading "Goodnight Moon" on a camp chair in the quiet evening - new mercies. Roasting marshmallows over the campstove since a burn ban is on and seeing the chocolate smeared on sticky smiles. His creative tales whispered quiet in the tent to eager ears and that little girl's excited contributions when daddy asks for help with ideas for how to solve the conflict - a full heart.
This Yes was a good yes.