Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Grace and Second Chances, part one

Second chances are like a fork in the road. They can lead us in a wonderful new direction. 
Second chances. There comes a time when we all need one. After all, who’s perfect?

Lately I’ve been thinking about second chances in regards to many things—relationships, dreams, challenges. 

Too often we just give up. We don’t extend grace to others or to ourselves.

Many years ago I hosted a play date for my son with a boy from his preschool class. The mom came also and brought her two younger children who were the same age as my younger kids. When we’d rub shoulders picking up our kids from school, she seemed lovely. I anticipated a nice lunch and a pleasant afternoon.

My expectations were not met.

The afternoon was a disaster. Try as I did, I couldn’t engage that lady in any kind of pleasant conversation. She seemed self absorbed and shallow. The kids had a dandy time, but the few hours she sat in my living room felt like an eternity. 

About two months later she started asking me to bring my kids to her house for a play date. My first thought was that she must be nuts. We had nothing in common. She had NO desire to find out anything about my interests, or me, yet she claimed she was looking for friends for her kids and herself. I was able to make excuses a few times, but then her continual invitations became awkward. What she wanted was a second chance. So, reluctantly, I accepted.

I try to err on the side of kindness, but I expected the afternoon to be a disaster, a repeat of our first get together.

I was wrong.

I had a wonderful time! She was fun and engaging. The afternoon flew by. I would have never had such an enjoyable luncheon if I had not given her a second chance. I would have never known the truth about our first meeting if I had not extended grace towards her.

Turns out, the first play date occurred on the day her husband left the family. She didn’t want to disappoint her children who were looking forward to the fun. Her husband decided he no longer wanted to be married, and told her that when she was half-way through her third pregnancy. He stayed eight weeks after the baby was born to give her time to regain her strength. In hindsight, I see that she was as gracious as could be, under those circumstances.

That happened nearly 30 years ago, and I think about it often. I’m grateful I was moved to give her a second chance. Sometimes people aren’t as they first seem.

A few years ago, I experienced another similar lunch. The only difference was that I was the awkward one. . . 

*To be continued 6/26.

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