Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Flavouring of A Second Chance


"We all must hold the cups of our lives. As we grow older and become more fully aware of the many sorrows of life -- personal failures, family conflicts, disappointments in work and social life, and the many pains surrounding us on the national and international scene -- everything within and around us conspires to make us ignore, avoid, suppress, or simply deny those sorrows. "Look at the sunny side of life and make the best of it," we say to ourselves and hear others say to us. But when we want to drink the cups of our lives, we need first to hold them, to fully acknowledge what we are living, trusting that by not avoiding but befriending our sorrow we will discover the true joy we are looking for right in the midst of our sorrows. " Henri Nouwen


"I still haven't found what I'm looking for............."

Not yet, anyways. But isn't that the journey of life? We are inherent seekers and doers. It's in our genes. It's in the salt found in our spirits. It is in the salt found in the food and drink we share with our friends and family. It is in the salt found in our tears.......flavouring our lives, as we learn and grow from trying. We may not get it right the first time, or the second or the third OR even the fourth time. God, we may not ever get it right, but what is a life where at the end of it, we haven't sought out and explored the world and the people around us?

What is a life where there is no reflection emanating back at you? What is a life of avoiding risks, of hiding from the truth, of not recognizing mistakes or celebrating accomplishments? It is one of suppressed regret. It is a life of coulda woulda shoulda..............ooooops it's over.

What if you woke up one morning at 75 years of age with the stark realization that your life was not what you expected, or that you didn't do the things you wanted to do? Would you be paralyzed by the belief that it's too late to do anything about it? Would you beat yourself up emotionally to a point where you couldn't recover from the disease of regrets? Or would you be able to grab hold of a second chance, dust yourself off, make some decisions and start moving forward in a new direction?

Personally, I'd like to avoid experiencing that epiphany then. I want to reach that milestone with a rucksack full of attempts..............the second chances which led to both success and failures, all flavoured with the salt of life. In fact, I want no salt left to discard. I want it all used up.........as I taste life.

Nouwen writes of learning from our sorrows. Through our sorrows, we can find joy. Our choice is clear. We can choose to allow our sorrows to engulf and overwhelm us to a point where we stop trying, where we stop reaching out for the second chance. Or we can grab hold of the cup with both hands, take a big gulp of insight, swallow our fearful pride, stomp on our guilt, acknowledge our sins.............FORGIVE our mistakes as God forgives us and keep on with the search.

At any age..........at any age..........

We are seekers...........who sometimes need to take our turn hiding. We need seclusion to stop the world around us, to find the silence, to dwell between the breaths, to contemplate success and failures. We need it. Even in our hiding spots, however, we never stop seeking. In fact, now that I am thinking about it, I wonder if we seek more deeply when we have retreated. Sure, it's much scarier to seek in the dark, but sometimes the challenge makes it all the more gratifying. Perhaps, finding the braveheart to reach out for a second chance at twilight is what it takes to be moved by life affirming grace.

Second chance grace. I like that tasty idea.

for more sunday scribblings on second chances, click here.

12 comments:

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

"FORGIVE our mistakes as God forgives us and keep on with the search." Wonderful post, Dana, and I truly appreciate these words. I think that self-forgiveness and self-acceptance may be a large part of the journey. Much peace & love, JP

Tori said...

Your writing is so beautiful and insightful and inspiring each time I read it. These are thoughts that I need to focus on when trying to allow myself these big second chances...I will say in my head "At any age, at any age..."
Thank you.

arboleda said...

I love your post. I posted refering to the impossibility to change what has happened or what we have done but you are right about the needd to attempt to do better anytime that a new opportunity comes.......

Regina Clare Jane said...

I've always been a hider... trying to feel my way in the dark. Sometimes I am not very successful... but for me, it's the only way sometimes. I love what Nouwen said about "befriending our sorrow"... I am coming to that point now, slowly. I think my dad would want it that way. He was one of those you speak of, "What if you woke up one morning at 75 years of age with the stark realization that your life was not what you expected, or that you didn't do the things you wanted to do?"- he did stop trying and I was so sad for him. But now, I think he is telling me to keep looking for that second chance...
Thank you, Dana, for a wonderful and personal post today- your words have blessed me...

Matthew said...

What an insightful post. We are seekers and wanting to squeeze every last bit out of the wonder of life. And sometimes we are sad needing to step back from all that life brings us.

Both the joys and the sorrows make us richer with life experience and fill the cup we so yearn to have over-flowing. Thank you for provoking my thoughts and emotions. Let the epiphanies begin today!

Crafty Green Poet said...

keep seeking, that's a good motto!

Awareness said...

Thank you everyone!! Welcome Arboleda (which is so beautifully poetic said aloud btw)

As I was writing it, and then as soon as I clicked on publish, I felt a surge of excitement because the words came from a culmination of many thoughts......and readings. What pulled my thinking together, was reading an interpretation of the parable on the importance of salt.

Can I say this?? It felt like the best thing I've written in a while....and perhaps it's because I too found insight while writing. It was a flow thing that happened, because it took only 1/2 an hour for it to pour out......but many hours of wondering about lost opportunities, of seclusion and seeking etc.....I was also inspired by Harbour's latest post, and Caroline's post as well.....they frequently feed me ideas.

Regina clare jane....i'm so pleased you found a connection to my message as I know you've been missing your father deeply and trying to figure it all out.

And as Matthew states.....let the epiphanies begin today!!

thank you....... :)

gautami tripathy said...

The search for self can never end. The day it ends, we cease existing. Very beautiful writing.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

you do write so so well - what was it Tolstoy said: Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. hmmm

Shaz said...

That worked for me in so many ways, just awesome Dana.

Awareness said...

guatami.....thank you. I believe this is the key. We can wrap ourselves in "labels" and forget we have the ability to strip them away and set forth again. Searching, seeking.....is movement. Movement resists stagnancy.

Paul....your words mean a great deal, as your writing always speaks to me. What I found interesting about writing this particular piece is that I could feel it was a culmination of a winter full of thought. I'm happy with it, and yet I can also see how easily I could expand on it. For now, it is blog archived and will be revisited when the time is right. :)
btw.....i'm meeting with a friend today to talk about my writing. She has excellent editing and organizational abilities. AND she's making me dinner. :)

Shaz......I am honestly THRILLED that you found this piece helpful. Take care way down under!!

Rainbow dreams said...

A wonderful post Dana, one that resonates with me at the moment...
still seeking and exploring - my rucksack keep refilling at an alarming rate, thanks for your writings, they are much appreciated