I had come up with a really great Hanukkah basket , one that my mother would be proud of. It was eleven p.m., a time for the quiet contemplation of “CSI.” My husband Josh had just plunked down next to me with a bowl of popcorn. Ready, set…relax.
The phone rang. It was my friend Mark, frantic.
“Listen,” he said. “I’m in a bind. I’m in charge of a fundraising event.”
“Can you prepare 12 kosher gift baskets by seven a.m. tomorrow?”
“Well, some people at a synagogue need to be thanked for great work. By tomorrow.”
“Seven a.m.?” I said. “You meant p.m., right?”
“Well, no. Seven a.m. You see…”
I cleared my throat. “Never mind.”
Mark is a party planner and a dear friend, but I had been drawn into his mishegas before. For those of you who don’t speak Yiddish, mishegas is a very handy word. It means ‘craziness’ or ‘crazy behavior.’
“Can you pick them up?” I asked him grumpily.
“I’ll see you at seven.”
Don’t get me wrong. Mark is very good at what he does. But when he doesn’t know how to say “no.” He wants to give his customers everything they ask for, and then some. It doesn’t matter to him if they just remembered that Aunt Florence adores a good chocolate babka.
I hung up the phone with Mark and looked longingly at the TV screen for a moment. There was somebody chasing somebody else across the screen, guns drawn.
Then it hit me. It wasn’t that Mark didn’t know how to say “no.” It wasn’t that 25 gift baskets would make or break Mark’s career.
It was that saying “yes” to the 12 people who needed to be thanked at the synagogue felt good to Mark. It felt good to be a yes-sayer, to give an affirmative answer to someone who is expecting a “no.” Maybe “yes” was like a chain. Mark said yes to the synagogue, and I said yes to Mark. Who knows? Maybe a “yes” was heading towards me.
May today contain a yes,