November 2, 2014
“The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner.” – Psalms 117:22
Who among us has not experienced the sadness and pain of rejection. Possibly in failing to be considered for that special job, whose interview you prepared for so diligently. Perhaps by having your marriage proposal turned down by the person of your dreams. Or from simply holding out a helping hand, only to have it pushed aside. These and countless examples of rejection can sap the strength from the strongest of us. For we are only human and can’t help but be somewhat dejected when rejected.
In my readings I have come across many stories that, like parables, have within them a message that can be applied to improve one’s life. This is so, because these stories are based upon some objective truth. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen tells the following story to make the definitive point in answering a particularly profound question. The question was of great consequence, but need not be addressed for our purpose here. However, the story, I believe, has useful meaning as regards our topic – Rejection.
Archbishop Sheen’s story is as follows: An orchestra was playing a musical piece, when suddenly one of the musicians struck a wrong note. The erroneous note immediately compelled the conductor to stop the orchestra from further playing. The conductor, also being the composer, could not continue because the incorrect note would have compromised the integrity of the piece. This errant note, which was never in the mind of the composer, has caused musical disharmony. Faced with such a dilemma, the conductor decided to begin anew; not begin again. For like any sound, that note once played is out there in space and can never be retrieved. So rather than attempting what he could not, he attempted what he could. That was to compose a new symphony with the sour note as the first note. By this act the note has been transformed, from the last sour note of the old symphony, to the first sweet note of the new.
Cannot the same be true of us? A rejection is a sour note. It brings a halt to the pursuit of some goal we had in mind. Now, we can feel sorry for ourselves and, through avoidance, give up the thought of ever experiencing any acceptance in our lives. Or, we can, after licking our wounds and healing, take that recent sour note in our life and make it the first note of a new beginning.
I worked in the aeronautics industry when I first graduated from college. It was my dream job. To make a long story short, and to the point, I was fired, because the company had lost contracts and I, to be honest with myself, just didn’t measure up. However, that rejection freed me to pursue a new interest-coaching and teaching young people. There I found myself enfolded in a new symphony and gratefully living a harmonious life. The fulfillment I enjoyed there, could never have been experienced in the profession that rejected me.
So, are you dejected because the job you so enthusiastically sought after did not materialize as you had hoped? Fear not; for a better suitable one lies ahead. Are you suffering the pain of a broken heart because the person you had hoped to marry could not make the same commitment? Move on; for there is a heart somewhere that shares the same dream as you. And don’t be discouraged when your offer of help is not accepted, for there are many in need who possess the disposition of gratitude.
Great accomplishments await those who refuse to be paralyzed by rejection. Know that rejection is not an end, but a beginning. It is not the last sour note of a broken symphony, but the first note of a new and potentially beautiful one.