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I’ve met a lot of people over the years, and each seem to have such a different story about how they were raised or how they perceive the world and such. The ones that stick to mind are the ones who have the blessing to forgive and give people second chances, even if it’s giving themselves that second chance. I’m going to share some individual stories of some amazing people who have the beautiful ability to forgive and provide a second chance.
*Disclaimer – NONE of the names are real.
I met Josh about 4 years ago when I first started working with the youth. Josh suffered from living in an abusive home, an alcoholic mother, and a sister with a child by the age of 16. For whatever reason, Josh always felt called to be different. He didn’t live in the best neighborhood, he didn’t go to the best school, but he knew how to accept people for who they were. Josh was 12 when I first met him, and he was able to share all of this with me with no problem. I was stunned that a young person can go through so much, and not have such anger at the world. I told him in a deep conversation that we were engaged in that it was okay to be mad, it’s okay to feel some sort of resiement. His response? Why? I got dealt a shit hand, but I can still do better.
Ana is a beautiful young girl from Florida. I met her during my freshmen year of college. She had this strong devotion to the Church, and I thought she was just another bible beater who freakishly loved Jesus. Well, when I spoke to Ana, she explained why she was such a Jesus lover. Ana made some poor decisions in high school, slept around quite extensively, and even had an abortion performed. She was asked to participate in a church activity group over the summer, and after much hesitation, she joined. She came back with a new sense of respect. Again, I said it was okay to be mad, to have reassessment. Her response back? Why? She continued, “I made the choices I made, sure. If i lived in my regrets, I wouldn’t have allowed the opportunity of a second chance. To reestablish how worthy and beautiful I am. Not to prove it to the world, but to myself.”
Mike is my favorite story to tell. Let me tell you, Mike has every reason in the world to just be pissed off at life. I’ve known Mike since high school. He had scumbag dad, sick mother with cancer, friends that would sell him for a chance to get high, but yet he was still happy at all times. Mike turned to selling drugs at one point in his life, not by choice, but because of a financial hold that his family was in. Mike never thought what he was doing was wrong, until he saw that he was getting ready to sell to his brother and it hit him. What the hell I am doing.
Each of these stories have different levels of forgiveness and second chances. Some of us have had difficult relationships. Ether with a significant other, or even someone close in our family. We have all had someone hurt us, it’s the risk of any relationship. I’ll tell you what; there is no pain worse than holding a grudge over someone. If you enjoy staying pissed off, shit, go right for it.
Josh? He forgave his family for forgetting him, and is moving to grow his own family and show them the love he never had. Ana? She learned to forgive herself for the mistakes she made, and to understand it’s okay to be forgiven. Mike? Mike understood that forgiveness for himself will take a little bit, but the second chance that was waiting for him was beyond what he expected. To become a drug and alcohol counselor for youth in the city.
I am guilty of not forgiving or not providing second chances as much as I should. That weight of anger just kills. Feels like a ton of bricks on your shoulder that really is unneeded. The ability to forgive one another, even if it is ourselves, is really needed to be relieved and feel free. You’ll never learn unless you fall, but you’ll never get up if you stay on the ground. There is always an ex, co-worker, best friend, parent, who did or said something beyond forgiveness. Somewhere along the lines someone had to forgive you for something. Imagine if that person held that over your head and reminded you how much hurt there was? A second chance may not always be the solution, but it’s a blessing.
If you have the chance to forgive, do it. Easier said, but we all need a second or third chance in this life.