My granddaddy grew up in the country working the family farm. He was an average student, an athlete and a young man determined to be the best he could be. To that end, he applied to go to college at Berry College and was summarily rejected. Here is how my grandfather describes it in his self-published autobiography:

That fall I knew I needed to attend college and one of my third cousins Milton Chambers and his sister Euna were already at Berry College. I wrote to Berry and asked if I could be accepted in September. Dr. S.H. Cook, the college Dean, wrote back and said they did not have room for me. I packed my old suitcase, told my family goodbye and walked over to the Roopville Highway and hitchhiked to Rome Georgia. I boarded the bus out to Berry College, walked in Dr. Cook’s office, gave him the postcard back and told him I needed to go to school. He assigned me to room with my friend Milton Chambers and that was the beginning of my new life.

It would have been easy for my grandfather to accept that rejection letter. If he had, he would not have met my grandmother, and I would not exist.

There is a lot of rejection to go around, but we don’t always have to accept it. Sometimes we need to push back, even when it seems hopeless. I’m glad grandaddy didn’t accept rejection.