Say Yes: A Message from Executive Director Chris Purnell

Chris June 2015

Do you know any “Yes!” people in your life? You know what I’m talking about—the kind of person that’s up for anything, always ready to jump on an opportunity at a moment’s notice. Their idiomatic lexicon is replete with sayings like, “Let’s do it!” and “I’ll try anything once!” and “No regrets!”

If you don’t think you have anyone like that in your life, it’s you. For sure.

When I get around these folks, I often have conflicting emotions. Is not life meant to be lived with gusto, chock-full of adventure, drinking our experiences to the lees, and not living a life of “quiet desperation”? What, then, is my life? There are many days when the most adventurous thing I’ve experienced is a nasty paper-cut, a made-up superhero battle with my five- and two-year-old children, and a productive and intense “conversation” with my wife about parenting and budgeting.

But isn’t saying “No” an equally important part of life? A person needs to say a hearty “No!” to something in order to say an equally hearty “Yes!” to something else. To experience the thrill of marital negotiations, my wife and I had to say “No” to an equally fulfilling single life. To experience the adventure of protecting galaxies and the ever-present allure of evil with my son and daughter, I have to say “No” to the other things that compete for position in my allegiances. Saying “Yes” means saying “No.”

At the Clinic, our staff members have said many “Nos” in their lives so that they can say a faithful, diligent, compassionate, and deliberate “Yes” to the many clients that seek out our services. We say “No” to cynicism so we can say “Yes” to presence and empathy. We say “No” to other careers so we can say “Yes” to a calling. We say “No” to fear so that we can say an ardent and throaty “Yes” to faith.

Bob Goff, our speaker at this year’s Justice for All gala on October 6th, says, “I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes.” God has called you to something—it may not be big (it probably won’t be) and it may not be flashy, but it is what he called you to. And he knows what you will have to say “No” to in order to say “Yes” to it.

May you start saying “Yes” to the things that God has called you to, whether it be something big or small. May you start saying a definitive “No” to other—oftentimes good—things in your life as you pursue what God has for you to do. In all of this, may you experience the joy of being a “Yes” person that is guided by purpose and a mission bigger than yourself.

Until justice and peace embrace,

Chris Purnell e-sig Black 2015