by Lana Turnbull
Is there anything you did in 2014, you wish you could do over? Any argument you would like to reconcile? Any decisions you would like to walk back or missed chances you wish you had taken? Now is your chance. You just tore the last page out of the 2014 calendar and have the chance to start all over in the New Year.
The truth is, we can decide to start over any day of the year, but breaking out the new calendar symbolically makes it feel like a real beginning, and the blank dates going forward an invitation to fill them with something meaningful – to make them count. There’s something really hopeful about having the chance for a fresh start.
The other side of the second chance coin is whether we are willing to offer the same opportunity to someone else. What does it really mean when we agree to give somebody a second chance? Does it mean we forgive them if they have wronged us, or others? Does it mean we trust that they will keep their word not to make the same mistake again? Are we telling them we have faith in them? Under the best circumstances, it could be all of those things, or it could mean we just aren’t sure what they will do with another shot, but we believe it is worth it to give them the chance to try. I think that’s what makes second chances transformative. They are a leap of faith – one soul betting on another soul to make a change for the better. The greatest power of the second chance is not in the doing but in the giving.
A second chance for a child in trouble could be the difference between a life as a career criminal or a life that is rich and productive. A second chance for a person who is overweight and out of shape could be the difference between a long active life or one shortened by poor health. A second chance in a relationship could mean the difference between another broken family or a home filled with love and respect.
Not all second chances will turn out the way we plan or expect, and they can sometimes cause a change of course that we may never have imagined. That’s the mystery of it. We all have untapped power to change our lives and the lives of others when we open our eyes and our hearts to believe in the possible. So take a chance, take two…and give two while you’re at it. Second chances are like forgiveness – when freely given, you get back even more than you give.