“It’s finally spring!” I say brightly to the woman in the elevator. And for sure everything around me shouts this fact. The colors are God’s palette gone wild with greens of every shade, pinks, reds, purples. There are tulips and buds on trees. There is a lightness in the step and the face.
And she responded the way I hoped she wouldn’t “Yes-but….not for long.” “Yes, but….tomorrow it’s going to be 50 degrees.”
How I hate those words. I hate them when others say them. I hate them even more when I say them. “Yes…but” because no good thing can possibly last. “Yes, but” because we dare not enjoy the now for fear that it will all be taken away.
It’s a cultural thing here, a social facilitator. But there’s a history to this I think. A history born of the hardy New England pioneers who saw so many die in the process of moving to this new world. It’s a natural pessimism that produced great artists and thinkers. Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott. Perhaps it’s a sort of preservation, not getting your hopes up so they can never be dashed to the ground, broken and buried. And it doesn’t just happen with the weather. It’s an all around don’t get too excited about anything, Lord knows what tomorrow will bring.
But for me it’s defeating. For me it’s depressing. For me it’s alienating.
And then, as I go through an inner diatribe about how much I hate this cultural expression, I am gently reminded about how often I say this to God. “Yes, but.” As though no good thing that he brings about can possibly last. As though he is not good, he does not care and anything that is the least bit satisfying or happy will be taken from me. It strikes me that my “Yes, but.” needs to be changed to “But God.” Because scripture is full of “But God” moments where everything changes; where what was expected as bad was turned around for good. I go back in time for a moment. Two years ago my friend Sophie who blogs at Little Gumnut wrote a piece called “The But God Moments.” and I go and read what she wrote:
“The most powerful testimonies are the But God moments in our lives and so often we wish them away. We wish he wouldn’t give us hard things to go through but if we didn’t, people wouldn’t see that he really makes a difference in the tough stuff. We would get the credit and not him. I’m not saying he creates awful situations, no, sometimes we do, sometimes its just a result of evil, but he rescues us, he turns the crappy into beautiful. That’s who he is, his very nature, his core. He takes up what humanity have screwed well and truely up and he rescues us, restores us, makes us new again.”
“He takes ashes and gives you a crown of beauty, he takes mourning and gives you oil of joy, unlimited and in abundance, he takes a spirit of despair and he gives you praise to wear instead. It’s not just that the Great Exchange is your life for his, although that in itself is mind-blowing, but he totally transforms your life afterwards as well.”
“I can’t stop thinking about that exchange. He takes our ash, the thing no one else wants or values, and he exchanges it for beauty. The ultimate But God moment.”- Sophie Blanc from Little Gumnut: I Think Therefore I blog
So the irritating “Yes, but” is turned into the glorious “But God.”
My frustration with today’s elevator interaction dissipates, the “Yes, but” buried in the glorious truth of the But God Moments.
What about you? Do you suffer from the “yes,buts?”
Today’s muffins are an expression of an expat’s connection to both the world she is in now, and her passport country. They are “Star-Spangled Muffins. Strawberries for red, blueberries for blue and some pearl sugar sprinkles on top for white.” They are also a reminder to me that we can have loyalties to both sides of the globe! We hope the non-Americans reading will enjoy the colors if not the sentiment! Thank you Stacy!
Photo Credit: Stefanie Sevim Gardner