Friday, April 30, 2010

The Human Yes

Do you remember him? Or her? That one single teacher who in one brief moment looked you straight in the heart and recognized the center of your being?

Kaylin Haught in “God Says Yes to Me” writes about the Royal YES. Yet there is something about the human yes that is so solid, so physical, so real it almost feels as one of those seeds you buy in small, paper packets.

The resulting flowers have names like Confidence, Courage, Determination.

One of those seeds was planted in me the first year of university. I was young and had yet to understand the concept of education. Learning, I thought, was all about remembering and repeating the words of others. I had no idea discovering your own was its main concern.

My philosophy tutor was a dark, handsome American who insisted on calling me Crete. My name has little to do with the Greek Island, but I was too shy to object. Also I was too shy to believe I had a voice that mattered.

Week after week the American would look at me with sad, brown eyes, and plead, “But what do YOU think, Crete, what is YOUR opinion?” I was unsure as to what he meant, uncertain what he wanted. For what had MY opinion to do with it? Was I not here to learn my Plato and Socrates?

Then came the last day of term. My paper was all about art. About the necessity of art. About how we create, and how our creation in turn creates us. About how the two mirror each other.

We were five students in our tutorial, all crammed into the professor’s small office. Having slumped down on our chairs, we were quiet, waiting for the verdict. One by one the papers were handed out by the American, accompanied with a small remark. When he turned to me, there was a smile in his eyes. Yes, he exclaimed, Yes, Yes, YESSS!


  1. What an awesome, uplifting, encouraging memory you have. Treasure it and keep it polished and shiny.... Blessings!

  2. Marion -

    Writing is like pulling shiny memory fish up from deep oceans....

    And when the light hits the silvery skin, I sometimes see sadness. Sometimes pain. Sometimes qualities I never saw before, like goodness.....


  3. Ohhh, I've shivers from you seeing in retrospect the goodness, those elusive fish of yours.

    I'm glad you had him, this man who said, yes.

    What gets me is that we have it within our grasp to do this for each other. All of us. Every day. And so often we choose not to do this. Water one another.


  4. Erin -

    Yes, water one another.

    I said to one of my sons - I am a keeper in your garden. “Bringing you up” has consisted of this - adding the fertilizer, the water. The rest was there already.

    Also dear Erin - Thank you for watering me.....