Sometimes The Answer Is No
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She was the most beautiful girl I ever saw. Her hair was as red as a dewy rose on a spring morning and her name was Faith.
I met Faith in Mr. Patton’s fifth grade class when her family moved to the school district I lived in. From fifth through eight grades, we had several classes together.
When we got into high school, things changed. We never had any classes together and the only time I was able to speak to her was in the halls, in between classes, and then it was only to say a quick “hi”. I do remember however, of her coming out for spring football in our sophomore year. I can still remember her knocking down one of the freshman that was holding one of the blocking bags. Boy, did it take him a long time to live down that one.
Maybe it was admiration for seeing her trying out for a male sport or perhaps it was something else, like testosterone, or it might even be conceivable that it was a combination of both, I really don’t know. All I knew was that I was smitten with her. All this being what it was, I had to get to know her “better” and the only way to do that was to ask her out on a date.
Being sixteen and full of courage in the form of sweating hands and trembling speech, I approached her one day in between classes and asked -
“You wouldn’t want to go out with me?”
That took all of the courage that this somewhat shy sixteen year old could muster and I blew that in a matter of five seconds with lousy syntax!
Great, now she’s asking me to repeat the question again! I don’t know if I have the courage to do so, but here it goes –
“Would you like to go out with me sometime?”
“We’ll see?” What kind of response is “We’ll see.”?
Suffice to say, her response wasn’t the kiss of death – “Gee, Jim you’re a great guy, but I only like you as a friend” And she did have a smile on her face as in "ain't you sweet" when she said it, indicating that there just might be a chance.
About a week later, I caught up with her and asked if she had thought about the question. She had and she said “no”.
There was no explanation, no “friend” speech, not even an “I can’t date till I’m …” just a straight out “no”.
Something strange happen then. I have been told no before. To be honest, I heard “no” more often then I heard “yes”, I guess that’s just the way it is sometimes. But with Faith, I was not deflated nor did she crush me with her “no”. Heck, I wasn’t even destroyed when she said it; I was just…bewildered. I am thankful that she didn’t laugh at me, as if to say – “Puny boy, you don’t have what it takes to come into my presence, WAHAHAHAH” or even point an humiliating finger at me and say over a bull horn – “Jim Fulton, who lives on W. 135th street and is son to Gene and Billie Fulton, and who picks his nose, had just ask me out on a date.” It was an honest “no”. And with this “no”, I knew I could never ask her out again. We would just have to remain at “hi”.
I didn’t see her too much after that no answer. She went on to graduate ahead of the class and moved away from the area. Last time I heard, she was living in Utah, married, with several children under foot.
You know what I learned from that experience? That sometimes the answer is no.
That’s the lesson – no?
In all of my forty-seven years of life, I have found that no isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, when you think of it, “no” can be liberating, especially if you use it as a standard: because then, the gray areas in your life become black and white.
It wasn’t until Faith told me no that I was able to move on to other girls and other pursuits in life. However, just between you and me, if she would have said yes, I had no idea of what I’d do with her.
Moving on with spiritual matters and the replies we get from God. God doesn’t always grants us “yes” on our prayers. He sometimes says ”no”. Later on, we may see why He didn’t permit something to happen such as a puppy dog crush on the most beautiful girl in high school turning into a lifetime of what maybe filled with heartache and jealousy. God tells us no not to be vindictive or mean spirited, He tells us no because we just can’t see that far into our futures. So a decision that is made in haste might have a consequence that might destroy us later on in life. And just might drive us away from Him. In essence, we have to trust Him with “no.”
I truly believe that God sees our lives from a totally different perspective then we can imagine. He can see the plan He has for us come to fruition long before we even knew there was a plan for our lives. That said, I believe also that there are individuals who come into our lives that are meant to be with us for a lifetime; for instance, my wife Judy and my son Jared and all the joy they have brought to me. While there are others who are just there long enough to teach us one thing. Faith was there long enough to say – “no”.
Faith, if you ever read this, thanks for the “no”
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A wonderful story and a reminder that we shouldn't always be disappointed if we get 'no' as an answer. God sees the end result which is hidden from us.