Sometimes the Best Answer Is ‘No’

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by Joe MacDonald |

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I knew that I wanted to teach theology at the university level. I prepared a great résumé and felt academically equipped, having received my doctorate in ministry. I applied to dozens of schools, but no one offered to hire me. I questioned my abilities and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting a callback. I wondered, “Why is this happening to me?”

In moments of defeat, I heard a small voice whisper in my ear, “Joe, this job may not be a good fit for you. What if there’s no hemophilia treatment center near the town? What if the move to another city makes your family miserable?” I quickly realized that I didn’t have all the answers regarding my future. I can’t look into a magic ball and see the ramifications of a scene that doesn’t exist.

Closed doors do not have to represent missed opportunities. Perhaps they can offer hope or a sense of direction. In the world of bleeding disorders, closed doors can remind us to focus on what we have now. Perhaps we realize that the grass may not be greener at another medical facility. While we have no way of knowing the repercussions of our unrealized experiences, we can still find blessings in the choices that lie before us.

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Hearing “no” may be the catalyst to finding another opportunity or a moment to stop and reflect on the next course of action. I am often grateful to closed doors for helping me to discover other approaches. Maybe there is an open window right beside the blocked path that will provide an opportunity I hadn’t considered. Unfortunately, my fixation on the shut passageway prevents me from noticing other options.

Perhaps reframing the answer “no” can prove helpful when charting a course forward. “No” doesn’t have to carry a negative connotation. What if we treated a closed door or the answer “no” as an opportunity to live freely? Instead of feeling down concerning a job, why not say, “Thank God something stood in the way of a bad decision.” Perhaps in the world of bleeding disorders, a blocked door will steer me clear of decisions that could prove disastrous.

We never know when a medical complication may occur due to an uninformed decision. We never know what opportunities lie just around the bend. We trust that “no” may give way to “yes” in other scenarios.

I continue to learn about hemophilia, even when the answer is “no.” I don’t linger around the closed door, but I strive to find other solutions to my boys’ medical problems. I trust my boys’ medical team to tell me “no” when other treatment options are in my sons’ best interests. I have faith in the hemophilia treatment center at University of New Mexico Health to provide the best approach to long-term healthcare.

As for my desire to teach, I continue to look for opportunities, but my energy now moves in another direction. My focus centers on the gift of pastoring my present church, First United Methodist Church of Belen, New Mexico, and discovering new ways of providing opportunities for my community. I take the next steps into the unknown as I remember that a closed door may point toward other options.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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