Far Better Things

No.

Because who really likes to hear that word?

When you’ve reached the end of something or are anxiously waiting at the beginning and hoping and praying and wishing for it to happen, the worst feeling comes from hearing that syllable, seeing those two letters grouped together in the most unappealing way:

No.

Maybe sometimes it’s not so bad. It’s just a minor bump along the way, a small snag in the imagined plan you have playing in your mind like a movie (because we all do). The No is hard to hear but it’s not going to ruin anything. It’ll just take some recalculating, readjusting, reimagining. You may even have anticipated the No and have already created plans to get past it seamlessly.

But.

But there are times no matter how much you see the No coming, the want was just too bad. It filled up all the cracks and chinks that pockmarked the surface of the dream you carried, making it seem complete and whole. The want kept you from plucking at the strands and loose ends of your master plan, kept you from imagining the worst, chased the possibility of failure away.

But you still saw it coming. Like turning away from the sun and seeing the rolling, heavy rain clouds rushing in your direction. You just chose to keep your face towards the orange horizon, pretending that the storm wasn’t actually coming this way and that you would be fine as long as you could see the light in the sky.

And then it started raining.
Not just sprinkling, but a vicious and ugly storm that absorbed the sun and made the darkness seem unbreakable.

No.

Sometimes it’s that much worse to somehow know the answer you’re going to get before you even ask. Because you ask anyway hoping that maybe, please maybe, you’re wrong. And when you’re not all the holes and chinks that were once filled become vapid and empty, expanding and crackling until the dream crumbles like smoking embers in your burned fists.

Or maybe it’s not even a question that you asked; maybe it was a circumstance you hoped would eventually work out on its own, all the parts all fitting together nicely with no room for doubt or uncertainty. The No came when you finally saw you were holding handfuls of corner pieces and trying to make a whole puzzle and the overwhelming impossibility of it came together in one fell feeling–rocks churning in the bottom of your stomach, you realized it wasn’t going to happen.

No.

The hardest part?
The No is not a one-time thing.
It’s waking up and remembering over and over again that the answer was No.
It’s seeing that picture, that face, hearing that voice, staring at those corner pieces in your hands again.
It’s watching the horizon desperately and feeling like the sun will never reappear from its angry, grey prison and relieve you from drifting aimlessly in the snapping sheets of rain.

It’s reliving that moment when you knew, absolutely, it was a No.

However.

Someday, surely, the sun will come back out. Someday the pieces will make a picture.
Someday the answer might be
Yes.

One must hope. And wait.

C.S. Lewis quote

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