When I woke up this morning, I knew I was going to write about second chances…I just didn’t know where my inspiration would come from. Sure, I can tell you my story (you may have read it before), but like any second chance, there is a before and an after.
A point in our lives when there was a shift of some kind. Maybe it wasn’t significant at the time, but in reflection, we realize just how important it was and how that one event changed everything that happened afterwards.
It could have been an event as simple as your car breaking down by the side of the road and a stranger stopping to help you change it and get you on your way. From that moment, you dedicate your life to helping others — maybe you quit your full-time job as a lawyer and work at a homeless shelter instead.
Perhaps it was the teacher in high school who encouraged you to listen to your heart instead of doing what everyone else was doing, so you chose to attend an art school instead of head off to college after graduation. From there, you didn’t know that your life would be “drawn” around animated characters that would make it onto the big screen.
For others, that “wake-up” call is more drastic — the one where your life was literally hanging in the balance and unless you did something, you were not going to be around much longer. Maybe that call comes dressed as Cancer or a heart attack. Maybe it is something you personally suffer or you just witness. Maybe you actually have to lose someone close to you before you make the decision to change the way you life your life.
My story looked a little less dramatic and if I wasn’t paying attention, even I would have missed it too.
But something told me to see what would happen next…to trust in it, even if I didn’t know how.
This week, I was reminded of the day it all began. The day my life ended with ACT I and ACT II began — without a script, without direction, without knowing how. Although a few years have since passed and I have become someone new, I have never been more of who I was born to be than I am at this very moment. The debt I owe this woman will remain unpaid forever, but it was during that transformation that this blog was born. To read more, about the woman who changed me for good, start here.
All because someone looked left instead of straight ahead. I know that sounds vague, but that’s the truth. A casual, no-strings-attached, “Have a GREAT day!” between two people who worked in the same building (but never worked together) would not only alter my life from that point forward, but would change hers as well.
Our second chances aren’t always announced in a big loud fashion…some are a little more subtle.
Like the woman in the shelter who decides she needs to go back to college to build a better life for her and her son…
Like the man who finally quits an addiction so that he can keep his marriage intact…
Like the teenager who grows up to give back to the same community who almost gave up on him after he made more than one wrong decision.
Too often, we overlook and dismiss the chances we get, somehow convinced that we are not worthy of them.
For a few weeks now, a woman I teach at one of the local shelters has questioned if her life was worth anything and even mentioned it to me more than once. She believed that her life was meaningless and even went so far as cutting herself and being in the hospital to prove her point. She reached out to tell me more and her comments stunned me…she told me she was tired of being a victim and wanted to be a fighter. Her wanting to be a fighter isn’t what surprised me — it was the confession that included the phrase, “I didn’t know your words would mean so much to me.” Honestly speaking, I couldn’t tell if she was paying attention to anything I said — she seemed to daydream a bit and lose her train of thought during the time I spent with her and the others.
She cannot unwrite her story to this point but she can write the next chapter.
None of us can.
But every time we get up and have another day in front of us, we have a second chance. We can make up for a failure yesterday by giving today more.
Maybe we don’t always knows what that looks like, who will be there to guide us, or how we even get there, but every second chance begins with the same thing…
The understanding that we pick up where we fell down and get back up.
The acceptance that we all make mistakes and want to do better.
The hope we find in the simple things that point us where we really need to be.
Just like me, your second chance starts the day you believe in it.
Michelle A. Homme 2016 ©