Challenge: Say “Yes” to new opportunities
Charity: The LifeTrain Trust
Total £ accrued: £2
Status: Sometimes your heart just wants to say no. Those may be the times you must not follow your heart.
The Eighth Challenge: Saying “Yes” to New Opportunities
Before I get into the challenge, you should know that this came at a hard time; it was almost well-timed. Because as July came to a close, so did my 9 month relationship, which kind of messes with my travel plans, but gives more flexibility for this month’s challenge – to say “Yes!” to new opportunities. It’s never easy dealing with relationship breakdowns because your heart just wants to say “no” to everything. To waking up, to getting dressed, to stepping out of the door! Eek, humans!
After convincing myself to go out and explore (like, I didn’t pay all this money to sit in a hotel room watching chick flicks and shovelling mango sorbet down my throat), it suddenly dawned on me that there are couples EVERYWHERE and the only person also on their Larry (that’s on your own in British, or solo) was old dreads mcghee who sadly was an addict living on the Georgian streets. Before you judge me – I did give him a Chick-fil-A meal, probably the best gift you could give anyone around here!
The First “Yes”
Surprisingly, this bump in the road lead me to my first “Yes”, I’ll tell you why.
In this sad time, I sought the comfort of the place I have always received peace from; Church. And it just so happened that around 15 minutes from me was a church I had been familiar with as a youth – The Vineyard Church. As soon as I stepped in I was greeted by a kind woman who handed me a welcome pack (it had snacks, books and music which I later gave away to a begging child) and it wasn’t long before she and the pastor’s wife learned of my situation and offered support through prayer.
They invited me to lunch with them after the service and that’s where I met a bright, smart 9 year old with the most beautiful smile, Eden. She was over the moon to hear that I was from England and even more excited when she found out about my travelling adventures. “I wish I had your life” she said, longingly. I swallowed back tears, she had no idea!
I met her lovely parents, Phil & Daesy, they had been in the worship band. Daesy was from the Philippines and so we had a lot to talk about with my travels to Asia. It wasn’t long until Phil turned to me and said “Mary, Daesy and I have been talking and we would love to offer you a place to stay.” I was so overwhelmed by their kindness and this was my first Yes!
Before I knew it, I was part of their family as they included me on their meals, movie nights and even gave me lifts to places. It was exactly what I needed when I was so low and I am ever thankful that I met them. It has also lead to new connections as it turned out they have family in Portland that I will now be staying with when I get there. Follow my travel posts for more on that.
The Two “No”‘s
Sadly, there are two opportunities which I’ve turned down thus far. It might be for the better or perhaps I missed out. I have named these two “no”‘s the Yacht and the Fisherman’s cabin, but they could have just as easily been the raft and the junkyard, but I will never know.
St. Mary‘s was a beautiful little town with a river separating it from the Islands beyond. Many boats rested harboured on the dock but the town was still and quiet, almost deserted with a rare face appearing from time to time along the dock. Deciding where to eat that night was easy seeing as I had one option alone, the Seagle’s pub. As it flooded down with rain, I ran inside and placed my drenched mac on the stool next to me. The bartender was yelling at this old man with her husky deep south accent, she did not look like the type of woman you’d want to get in a fight with.
“What can I get for you, honey?” she said sweetly to me, that’s when I realised they were not in a fight but just having a good old back and forth. The old man chuckled, “You gotta watch out for this one!” He sounded like he should have had a cigar between his teeth as he spoke.
“Don’t listen to the old fool!” she shouted back.
A gin and tonic, grilled shrimp and basket of fries later, we were all enjoying a bit of back and forth (or banter as we Surrey folks call it). “So what’s a young man like you doing in St. Mary’s?” I finally asked the 80 year old. That’s when he told me he was sailing the east coat and guess where he was headed? To Florida! “You know, we could do with another lady on the ship” he winked over at his wife and introduced me to his captain who he’d hired to get them safely around the coast. I could have kicked myself for having a rental because the opportunity seemed perfect! They’d only docked in St. Mary’s because of the thunderstorms we’d been having in the area and by chance happened to meet me and also happened to be going south along the coast. But sadly, the answer had to be “no” in the end. But there’s more to this story so keep an eye on the travel posts.
The Fisherman’s Cabin
The next morning as I waited to board the local ferry to Cumberland Island, I met Jimmy. Jimmy was a retired veteran whose days consisted of crabbing or fishing in the mornings, selling his catch to local restaurants and then heading home, kicking his feet up with a beer as he cooks up his latest catch. It was a simple life, and that’s the way he liked it. I enjoyed talking to him about his life and he seemed kind, the type of person who made the most out of life and was happy to be alive.
Realising that I had no set plans of where I was staying, he readily offered me a place to stay. He was so trusting, he even offered to give me his house keys should I wish to head there before he was done with his day’s fishing. I thanked him and took his address, I wasn’t sure where I’d be and if I’d be back but I promised to drop by if I was in the area.
Sadly, I realised later as I arrived at the Okefenokee swamp that my time was running out and I needed to be in Miami soon. So it had to be another “no”.
There have been more “yes”‘s and they’ve lead to some great places but I’ll tell you about them in the next post.
The challenge will be to say “yes” to new opportunities. That doesn’t mean being a “Yes Man”, should someone proposition me, I would not necessarily consider it an opportunity and nor would I consider jumping from a high place without a harness…
Basically, you get the picture. It’s about being open to new things and new opportunities, and not being afraid to go for it. But, for every opportunity I decide against, I’ll give £1 to the LifeTrain Trust who assist young people of underprivileged backgrounds providing them with the skills and give them the opportunity to build a life they have chosen rather than the one they were destined for; seek further education or qualifications and to say no to anti-social behaviour.
This month could be very good, or very bad… only time will tell!