Driving the kids to school I frequently pass parents pushing strollers, wrangling small children on scooters, bikes or on the run, as well as an occasional dog straining at the leash. Our neighborhood lacks many crosswalks, signal lights or center islands that generally offer more safety to pedestrians. I am in my minivan, cruising down the side roads, timing down to the minute to avoid the late bell… It happens, I blast past one of those unravelled looking moms, who is doing her best to contain children, a dog and double stroller, before crossing the street, looking for cars, and she glares at me as I pass, hardly slowing down. As I approach, I think, we are late, it will take them so long to cross, I will scoot by and let them cross in peace, rather then slamming on the brakes. But as I pass them, I feel immense guilt, having been that unravelled woman myself on many occasions, needing all the help I can get while wrangling little people, wheels, and a dog safely on the way to somewhere, crossing busy streets.
Another day, same route, same woman, same kids, I am relaxed, I slow down, stop, wave her to go, she waves back, encouraging me to go ahead, I hesitate, then go, feeling redeemed. I vow to drive in such a way that I will always be able to stop for any pedestrian who looks like they may be trying to cross. Let them make the choice!
I realized that I’d gotten a second chance—a chance to live up to my potential and be the person I know I can be. I could have just as easily blown my second chance as I’d blown the first one. I want to be that person who is aware and present in the moment, who slows down for squirrels, and who stops whenever a pedestrian is trying to cross the street, who slows for yellow lights, and has patience with her husband and toddler.
While this is a small example, I realize that this sort of thing happens all the time in marriage and in life. We mess up somehow. Maybe we are too critical or we lose our temper. Maybe we talk when we should be listening. Maybe we leave dishes in the sink. Maybe we shrink our spouse’s favorite sweater.
Maybe we drink the last beer.
Whatever it is, we do something that we have been trying not to do.
And we feel like a failure.
Then life gives us a second chance. We have another chance to positive, to not lose our temper, to listen, to wash the dishes or to offer that last beer to our spouse.
Sometimes we take that second chance and we shine. Don’t beat yourself up. Take the next chance you get to do it better!!!