On Sunday I tried to put on earrings. The post went through the left lobe without too much difficulty, but it would not go through the right. The hole in the back had healed over.
So today I had my ears pierced a second time.
It got me to thinking about all the second chances we get in life. For example, when we’re learning to ride a bike, we’re not expected to have mastery the first time the training wheels are removed and we take off on our own. There’s an attitude that failure is okay. That we’ll learn from our mistakes and eventually be able to pedal, maintain balance and stop and turn.
School is not nearly as forgiving. You are expected to do certain things at a specific time, and if you’re a little bit slow or a tad too fast, you don’t fit in the mold. I was slow to read and learn math. My teachers didn’t know what to do with me except stick me in the slow groups. I had no extra help or encouragement. No one told me that it was okay. Instead I was consistently bullied and humiliated. But eventually I did master those skills. In fact, I went to college as a math major.
When you start dating, it’s expected that you’ll shop around. That you’ll choose poorly and learn, culling down those things that you hate and those that you admire, so that when you finally find your one and only, you’ll know that you’ve made the right choice. It’s an expected process, the ogling and drooling over and the break up.
Then there are the medical miracles. The diseases overcome. Surgeries. Allergies. Things like asthma that steal your breath away and make you think of death. Each time you survive, you become more and more grateful for those second chances.
I certainly am. I’ve got titanium knees that work and an arm that is held together with a metal plate and nine bolts. I’ve got inhalers that keep my lungs open and medication that helps me sleep.
I often think back to the times before, when such medical treatments weren’t available. Lives were short then. Forty was considered ancient. Now it’s not uncommon for a person to live to 100. For people to survive some forms of cancer. For athletes to come back from major reconstruction and compete again.
In this time of turmoil, we need to keep in mind that all of us have benefited from second chances, often many times over.