“I’ll never marry a blonde.”
I’d said that many times. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t have anything against blondes at all. It’s just that even though all of my friends had a thing for blondes, I was always more of a brunette guy. All of the girls I’d ever dated were brunette, except for one blonde I went to homecoming with sophomore year. Looking back now, I can see that this probably had a lot to do with the women I fancied in my youth: From Princess Leia to Lois Lane to my second grade teacher whom I had a second grade crush on.
The punch line, of course, is that my wife is blonde. And now, so are my kids.
When I was growing up, I was terribly shy and afraid of almost everything, especially new situations. I was often shamed for this, which usually only drove me deeper into my shell. It took me a long time to warm up to things — way longer than most kids — but once I did I was usually ok. But willingly throwing myself into new situations with people I didn’t know? Not going to happen. Back then, it would be very reasonable to proclaim that I would never turn into a professional speaker.
God sure does have a sense of humor.
As I’ve gotten older, I have gotten wiser about saying never. Mostly, I don’t.
Thinking we know how everything will turn out is foolish. Nobody really knows anything. Plus, uncertainty is a part of life. And although we often don’t like the consequences of that, much depends on our perspective.
I could confidently say that I’d never marry a blonde only because I’d never met someone as beautiful and remarkable as Kim. You could have confidently said I’d never turn into a professional speaker only because you wouldn’t have know how my faith journey would blossom and soar during my college years.
The word “never” seems so certain and sure of itself.
He will never walk again.
I’ll never get out of debt.
She’ll never turn her life around.
I’ll never figure this out.
We’ll never make it out of this situation.
Never seems permanent. But it only seems that way. The world is changing at an amazing rate. New cures are discovered. New technology is invented. New opportunities emerge. New people walk into your story.
Never say never. There’s never not a chance you might be wrong.
[ About the Art: I have always been intrigued by the idea that things that are commonplace to us were at one time considered impossible. Like airplanes, for example.
In my sketchbook, there is a drawing of an ostrich in a war plane. I liked how I drew him jammed into the cockpit, and I thought he looked silly in goggles. Later, I was thinking about the phrase, “When pigs fly,” and how it’s used to describe things that will never happen. One sketch led to another and before long, I came up with a squadron of things that aren’t supposed to be able to fly, cruising above the clouds in formation.
I had a fun time researching old war planes, borrowing details from them to create new ones. My father-in-law is an airplane nut, so I thought a lot about him a lot during this piece. I had a real dogfight with the sky, but it turned out to be the part I am most proud of. I think it reflects the soaring feeling of exhilaration that comes when you accomplish something that was supposed to be impossible. (Made with Photoshop.) (Buy the print!) ]
When I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease that leads to blindness, the doctor said I would never drive. Thousands of prayers later, I have minor astigmatisms and a driver’s license. :-)
Cool. What an inspiration!
Missy Brown says
When my youngest son was young, he hated loud noises. He hated being the center of attention (unless he initiated it). He is 25 years old now and has played in a band since he was 9 with his brother. He plays in a couple of other bands as well as doing solo shows. The punch line is that he is a drummer (although now he plays many instruments). Life is funny sometimes!
Ha ha. So true!
Cynthia Hutchinson says
In 2000, I said that the day that I can’t pay a bill is the day the world will end. And then 9/11 happened. I was so confident that I would never lose my job, never run a credit card up to its limit, never be without money for food, gas for my car etc. I was freaking out when that moment happened to me in 2005 because I actually thought the world was going to end because I had been so good with money and saving money before that. No one would hire me, every door slammed in my face and I had to take what ever part time work I could from 2005-2010. I believed it to be a sign of the times, and of the ending of times. I have been a person of faith still, but the nightmare has not gone away for me yet. I am in a job that does not pay a living wage now, and so I can’t dig my way out of the debt that was created while unemployed. You see, when the property tax bill and mortgage came due, I had this great credit limit in tact in 2005, and I used it to keep from losing my house etc. I learned Never Say Never does not mean the world is ending necessarily or the stress either. So, now I just hold on to what still exists and can be relied on, that God is still in control.
Deb Bahmer says
Oh my Heavens! Wrong about “Never” so often… which one to share! I don’t remember my childhood ones, except to say I was so shy I walked around social situations with my arm covering my eyes! I still remember the last tree I ran into. :( After that I stopped putting my arm up. As a young mom, I took the job of Sunday School Director/Vacation Bible School Director at my small church. I had to give reports in front of the whole church WITH a microphone! I used to turn bright red, and my voice would tremble and my hands would sweat! Thankfully this time of intense “I am out of my comfort zone” moments that turned into years, helped me become more able to stand up and speak my mind instead of crawling into a corner to hide. Now I am embarking on a journey of dating again and being able to speak the humor and “fun” that is in my personality a little more freely! I love my weekly emails from you all! Can’t wait to open that email, read it all, and laugh! :)
Thanks for sharing, Deb. Sounds like your story is getting better ad better!
Sharon Rindfleisch says
Back in the middle 50’s, a principal at the school where I was teaching said I would never be a
good teacher, that I should be in recreation. Well, I proved him wrong as I left that school and
substituting for a few months and got a new school with a better principal who believe that I
could be a good teacher and she helped me along the way. I was just out of college when this
Wow. What a jerk head. Good for you for proving that Adultitis-ridden principal wrong!
Many doctors told me that I would “never” be able to get pregnant. Surprisingly, I did get pregnant, and I have an amazing 10 year old daughter. After many years with my current OBGYN, I thanked him for always leaving the door of possibilty open. His reply was, “I really did that; because that was not what I was thinking.” He started to cry and promised himself that day, to avoid saying never in a situation like mine again. He is a special man and doctor, and I am very thankful that through the birth of my daughter, many people were moved to live in the world of possibilities and miracles, and leave behind the land of never.
Wow. Just amazing. Thanks for sharing, Kristi!
When I moved to my new home in Wisconsin in 1973, I knew that I would never teach jr. high. (I was a kindergarten and second grade teacher.) But, at the age of 46, I started a 19 year stint teaching 8th grade language arts and discovered that 8th grade is truely my favorite age to work with, even though I enjoy all ages. I have lost my Never Say Never list, but do have a “Please, may I never have to. . .” :)