By Gil Gonzalez
This week’s topic is second chances. Whether giving them or receiving them, second chances have a lot to do with forgiveness and starting over.
This is a tough post for me for a couple of reasons.
I have a peculiar point of view when it comes to how I apply this concept in my life. In the last several years, I’ve seen personal friendships I shared with other people dissolve into nothing. I’m not talking acquaintances, but rather good, close friendships that, at one point, I cherished.
Right, wrong, or indifferent, the stereotypical bromance ended up in dudevorce. Was it me? Was it him? Was it a little bit of both? Yeah, probably.
In each case, there was a point where the initial pushback was reached. One or both sides were offended, and a discussion about the issue ensued. In both cases the air was cleared, the proverbial hatchet buried, and the relationship went on (albeit with less fervor than before). Then, there was another tipping point, and from my perspective – which I will readily admit is skewed and biased – I was done.
See … I’m a purger. When I get to that point where I feel the actions of someone else are so egregious, I simply decide I have no more room for that person in my life. It’s not so much a matter of forgiveness – I don’t hold a grudge or harbor any anger (not a whole lot at least) – as it is a matter of just moving on. Fisherman cut bait. Gamblers settle their losses. Me? I purge.
Address book entry: Gone. E-Mails: Deleted. Facebook: Un-friended. Twitter: Blocked. You get the picture. I guess it’s the equivalent of a college girl burning an old picture of an ex-boyfriend. I guess you can say I’m in touch with my feminine side.
I like to reconcile this behavior in my head by saying the second chance came following the point of initial pushback. There was dialogue. There was an attempt set things straight. It wasn’t purge at first sign of conflict. Still, it doesn’t really feel, to me, like that second chance was really that. Those instances did not carry the emotional weight of a second chance. Rather, they were the equivalent of a “my bad” moment, like when your roommate forgot to tell you your mom called.
On the other side of the coin, I’ve been the recipient of several second chances in my recent adult life. I have an ex-wife whom I devastated with my behavior and decision making while we were married. If you read Lindsey’s post from Thursday, you can insert my name in those places where she refers to her ex-husband.
Nevertheless, my ex-wife never took me to task or raked me over the coals (as she had every right to do so). Rather, she displayed a level of class and grace through it all – primarily because she knew how important it was to maintain a relationship for the sake of our children – that just goes to show I was not really deserving of her to begin with. I will always maintain there is no other woman in the world I want to be the mother of my kids. My ex-wife is absolutely amazing.
Not long after that incident, I met a woman who put up with my continued stupidity and immaturity for the better part of a year. She saw I was blinded by emotions and infatuation, and she tried over and over to get me to open my eyes to the reality of my situation. While I waited for my ‘soul-mate’ to come around and take me to live happily ever after, I used this woman like an emotional crutch to get me through the days, weeks, and months. She fought for me. She yelled at me to wake up. She begged and pleaded with me through her own anguish because it broke her heart to see mine stepped on and abused by someone else.
Our situation finally got to the point where she couldn’t take it any longer, and for the sake of her own sanity and well being, she painfully let me go. I still remember the tremble in her voice as she sucked up the tears and told me, “I just can’t do this anymore.”
Then, the crisis moment that lead her to give her mom a second chance would be the moment that lead her to give me one as well. This woman wrote about that crisis moment in her blog, and she also happens to be my wife.
Following her mom’s arrest, the first call Lee made was to me. I don’t think I was at that time deserving to be that person in her life. Perhaps it was a function of geography, and I was the only close friend she had in the area. Perhaps it was God doing His thing in His own mysterious ways. Whatever the case, that phone call changed everything for both of us, and it set us both back on the path we find ourselves today.
I am completely humbled to have been the recipient of such love, grace, and forgiveness. I can’t even begin to describe how undeserving I feel in both cases. I couple that by saying I wish I had the same genuine ability to extend that same love, grace, and forgiveness to others. It’s shameful how much I struggle with this. It’s something I am not sure I’ll ever be able to fix simply because it does not come naturally to me.
Our lives are filled with random probabilities. What are the chances I’ll ever grow up and be the person that is deserving of the second chances given to me?