The arrogance of youth tells us
"Don't take NO for an answer."
Fight. FIGHT! We put our stock in that for which we can only hope. Hope is the currency of youth. Actually, hope is what we call it when we are old. When we are young, we call it...
Moxy. Grit. Hardwork. Courage.
Hope is too unstable. Determination is better; it'll show up. If we are determined, we can only succeed. Failure cannot happen, not if we want it bad enough.
I see my sons run up against NO and they each respond quite differently to it. Concord screams the very loudest, most unbelievably piercing animal war cry and flops on the ground. Effective, straight to the point, rather primal. Concord wants to smash that NO into a YES. Captain negotiates with NO. He is concentrated, he is logical. He can wind his way around the argument until suddenly with chess-like precision the only answer seems to be, in fact, YES. Check mate, NO.
I think most of our 20s were dedicated to a sort of numb, vacant, semi-deafness to NO. As if a haze kept the NO away and, as twenty-something year olds, we said, "NO?...Hmmm....I'm not really sure I am hearing it right...I mean, it SOUNDS like something I have seen other people hear, but....yeah, I'm not really getting it....I will just keep listening....I'm sure I will eventually hear YES in there..."
The 20 year old has T I M E . . .
So now we are mid-ish-late-ish 30s and I am seeing what has happened, what has changed for us with NO.
NO is NO.
And that's it.
We have put down our swords and quieted our battle cries and pleas. We have surrendered the determination to try to turn back time, to un-do a hundred tiny little moments, to be different people, to live another life. We are starting to hear NO and respond with favor....respond with hope.
Vulnerable, often dashed, completely unstable, pitiful really....hope.
And honestly, it isn't even a response.
It is an exhaled whisper.
We accept NO faster now. We own our share of it because, as much as we hate to admit it, much of the NO was our own doing. Remember? We become thankful that we came to the answer quickly before more time was wasted. We take our glasses, wipe them off, and re-focus on the glorious YES that surrounds us everyday.
And, friends, we HOPE. We do. We hope that we can ask better questions in the future. We hope that some NOs are never brought to our doorstep, not in this lifetime. We hope that what we've chosen is good enough for each other, even more so for our children. We hope that when our days are through and our question marks lay down to rest, we hope that grace is enough.
And I believe that it is.
YES is the answer that grace gives.