But to be rejected is to be told the most evil lies that exist! Lies! Because no one is worthless; each one of us is a unique treasure. And if we are here on this earth, it's because God chose for us to be here, and God has a purpose for our lives. If God upholds us and protects us, we have all the strength we need to succeed.
All of us struggle with rejection. In fact, some of the most famous people in the world have struggled with a great deal of rejection. What made them succeed was 1) a deep belief in God and their own unique selves, in spite of rejection and failure, 2) a willingness to struggle to accomplish what they saw (or see) as their purpose in life, and 3) to learn from their failures and never give up hope.
Albert Einstein, the most eminent physicist of the twentieth century, was born with a pointy head, which his relatives worried about. He didn't speak until he was three, which worried his parents, and when he spoke, he had a speech difficulty. He didn't read until he was seven. From Elementary School through College, his teachers and professors disliked him and thought he was lazy, sloppy, and insubordinate. Many thought he'd amount to nothing.
But Einstein was bored. He hated memorizing facts. It was much more fascinating and fulfilling to use his imagination and daydream about why the sky was blue. Or what makes the needle of a compass point in one direction. Or what it would be like to travel at the speed of light.
His salvation was a twenty-one year old medical student who had dinner once a week at the Einstein home, and who took the frustrated, unhappy boy under his wing, befriending him and showing him science books.
Einstein, in spite of his world-wide accolades, remained humble and would say "Before God we are all equally wise and equally foolish." His ability to struggle against the negative opinions of relatives and teachers in order to succeed lay in his relentless pursuit of the truth and his ability to remain an optimist: "The important thing is not to stop questioning....Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."
J.K. Rowling, author of the "Harry Potter" series, the best-selling book series in history, at one point in her life saw herself as a failure. Seven years after graduating from University, her marriage had failed and she was jobless, living in poverty with a dependent child. Her husband had been abusive; she had to get a restraining order against him. Her beloved mother died from multiple sclerosis. She was diagnosed with clinical depression, and even contemplated suicide.
Yet, at this point in her life, she began writing as if her life depended on it - and maybe it did.
Years later, she talks about the benefits of failure and how failure focused her on her great love, - writing. "Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me."
Not everyone understood her passion to finish her first novel. She says "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."
More rejection came: her novel was rejected by twelve publishing houses in a row. Yet, once it was published, as well as the rest of the series, within five years, Rowling's work was known throughout the world. And her personal suffering inspired many of her unforgettable characters. Her hero, Harry, is a boy whose parents have died and whose grief over loss of his parents mirrors Rowling's own grief over the loss of her mother. Her clinical depression inspired her characters known as the Dementors, terrifying soul-sucking creatures.
Rowling belongs to the Church of Scotland, and like Tolkien, whose "Lord of the Rings" trilogy uses fantasy and magic as vehicles for the story, says "I believe in God, not magic." She says that her books are heavily influenced by Christian themes, especially the last book in which Harry's sacrificial death and return to life evokes Christ's resurrection. Her attitude and her novels are full of hope: "It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."
Jesus, Son of God, was rejected and considered a failure by his own people. He was scorned, spat upon, whipped, and crucified, dying the death of a common criminal. Yet he tells us to have courage, because he has overcome the world. In his Name, and protection, and through the power of his resurrection, we too can overcome our own failures, our own inadequacies, our own rejections by others. Jesus above all gives us hope. We can hope because we are much-loved children of God. We can hope because we exist for a reason, and God yearns to bring our good works to completion, to bring us a resurrected new life right here, right now.
"The resurrection tells us it is never too late. Every so often we will be surprised. We must believe that the stone will be rolled back, and we must be ready to poke out our timid heads, take off the linen bindings of death, and walk free for a time, breathing resurrection air." (Fr. Ronald Rolheiser)