WEEK SIXTEEN: MAIS OUI!
By now you may have figured out that I have two guilty pleasures. One is that after a period of intense writing when I barely leave my home for weeks except to go to church or after the opposite kind of busy time of being with people constantly when I speak, this introvert likes to steal away, take the Sunday newspaper, and have a long slow leisurely meal in absolute solitude. The other is that I am an incurable eavesdropper. Being alone in restaurants in my travels has made me privy to some very interesting conversations.
This Saturday, one of those rare opportunities presented itself. I had been so rushed all day that I had not eaten. I found myself at 1:00PM on a different side of town but very near a buffet that had items that were perfect for my persnickety diet plan, so I grabbed the Sunday paper (still unopened from the previous Sunday) and found a quiet table.
It was not quiet for long. The woman sitting behind me decided to have a long conversation with what must have been her closest friend. The cell phone call that was still going on after an hour when I left was so loud that I could not help hearing every word. Don’t judge me : )
But don’t worry, I did not intrude on this woman’s privacy because the entire conversation was in French! The woman was deeply and energetically enjoying the heartfelt communication with the person on the other end. The honeyed, dulcet tones from time to time held love for her friend. She laughed, exclaimed, sympathized, and seemed to be appropriately outraged when her friend told her of some mishap.
But what struck me was that every sentence seemed to be punctuated with “mais oui (pronounced may-wee).” Sometimes she would say it excitedly twice in one sentence, “Mais oui! Mais oui!” I had to find out what this phrase meant because it seemed the perfect thing to say to a friend when you are listening with all your heart, responding with passion and love, and wanting to support her with all that is in you.
Reverso.net and Colliers revealed that “mais oui” can mean, “but, yes,” “why, yes,” “exactly,” and “but, of course.” In other words, this phrase always means affirmation. It seems to be a very emphatic agreement and not just the bland “ah” and “I see” I have been giving my friends. It seems more to say, “Yes, I see it exactly as you see it, and I could not agree with you more!” “Yes, I am just as enthusiastic about hearing your news as you are to tell it!” “Yes, you were completely right in that situation and I applaud your actions.” “Yes, I have always thought that and looked at it exactly as you do.” Now that is the way to respond to a friend.
I drove away thinking of my friends who have been that woman in my life to say “Mais oui” to all I undertake or aspire to. The ones who threw me a luncheon and gave me a very special crystal objet d’art by a local artist to commemorate the sale of my first book before we ever knew it would sell. To them, it was already a hit because it was from me!
The ones who take my part when the world tells me I am wrong. The ones who prayed with me when I tried to figure out if I were setting too strong a boundary or being co-dependent; I just felt wrong either way, but they knew my heart and knew God saw my desire to only be in His will. The ones whom I call because there is no one else who lives in my house with me now, and they always take my call and listen to the funny things that happened that day or the little hurts or the blessings God continues to give me. The ones I can talk to without a filter and not be judged as we grab that rare hour alone together. They are the ones I do not have to explain that the tiny miracle that happened on my lunch hour was a love touch from God; the minute I tell them, they start praising with me and NEVER suggest it was a coincidence. They are the ones that when I grapple with trying to express the nuance of a moment that was beautiful or uncomfortable or breathtaking and cannot find the words, say, ”I know exactly what you mean.”
Everything in my life to them is a “mais oui.”
God wanted to be that person in our lives to help us, affirm us, and support us through the inevitable hardships He knew we would face in our time on earth. He understands us in the deepest way that even our closest friends cannot grasp. He knows us in our souls and our minds. He knows our past, present, and future. He sent Jesus Christ to communicate with us in the deepest way His love and that He is for us. Jesus came to be the connection to the Father that our sin-covered souls could never make happen without help.
In 2 Corinthians 1:19-20, Paul is explaining who God is and says, “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
This is why Jesus came, to fulfill every promise of the Father to you personally from Genesis to Revelation, and there are many. He also came to establish sweet communion with the Father, an ongoing conversation with your closest friend. Because of Him, God is always available to you 24/7 to hear your joys, your pain, your confusion. He will not tell you that you are right when you are wrong, but right or wrong, He will affirm that you are His child and that He is for you. And He has told you that all of His plans are to bless you, so He is always on your side- never doubt it (Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11.) He is the greatest “Mais oui” person in your life.
If you have never asked Him into your life, I hope you will today. Mais oui! Mais oui!