my second chance: how I came to believe in redemption and restoration

 

a chance is always given, but is it always taken. a second chance can only be made a send chance when it is accepted, received and enacted upon. I would say there are better second chance’s than others some may find their second chance in drugs, school, rehab, but the one second chance that will not have to make you look for another one is Jesus. I did not know that right away when I was looking for my second chance. You see I was only able to get through my onset of my disease that would soon make me blind because of the strength that I found in my sister. at the age of 16 when most kids would be getting their driver’s license, going on first dates, winning championships, getting good grades to get into a good college, getting their first job. well those things were not able to happen for me. I did not have the mind set or the adherence to take this push back in stride. as a teenager that was still forming his identity I took this as a step backwards instead of asking myself what can I do with this, I asked myself what does this make me. to my friends at the time felt it made me lesser of a person because well they left me. at first emotionally, but then physically. I had already been battling not being able to do things the way I had before. I was pretty much lost in school, was not useful at work, hockey team could not use me, I did not know what to do at home, and girls that I desired wanted nothing to do with me.

I was grasping for something to give me a hint of life to keep me above water. I did that, but I did it to a point where I was just getting through the days, not caring to much about life, disregarding it had any meaning, but just caring about feeling good . I thought I found my second chance when I met this girl that I feel head over heels for. I thought I found meaning and reason for my disease. it was to led me to this girl. it was my second chance that was going to redeem all my previous relationships and finally find someone that would accept me for me. well that fairy tale did not come true. Some the next 11 months I was heartbroken over that girl and continued my voyage of trying to feel good and keep my head above water. to sum up the next 2 and a half years, I spent it trying to find my second chance in girls, mainly one abusive one that I kept giving the better part of my heart too. needless to say my second chance efforts were wearing thin. I had become desperate in my efforts to find a girl. I had never been a spiritual person, but I always felt life had more of a meaning that what I was being raised to believe, even though spirituality  was not a big topic in my house I still could not break away from this idea that things happen for a reason and there is meaning for what happens in life. my pursuit of girls had distracted me from thinking about this any deeper and once I met “the” girl my mind and heart was just focused on pleasing her, sweeping her off her feet, and making sure she did not leave. well I was successful in that, but little did I realize there was a meaning and purpose for being with her because she had played a role in my drawing near to Jesus. I would soon find out when I would move away to go to UCSB and Jesus would finally show me it is time to give my life over to him. this was the beginning of my second chance, but I did not yet realize it. I was still learning that I was accepted and did not have to try to be anything or do something to please anybody which included god. I think acceptance is the basis of a good second chance. my second chance was built on finding meaning for all the things that happened earlier in my life. the loss of friends, not being able to drive, not being able to go away to school and play hockey, all the heart breaks, the emotional void I had with my parents. there was all a purpose for those things. they were intricately woven to make sure I knew I was deeply and long fully thought about and loved. it took a while for me to understand this, but once I did I started to make sense of all the things in my life. the biggest thing I realized though in this process is that this second chance is not a fresh start or a reboot, but it is a sort of redemption. I still had all the things that happen to me in the past and the impact that it will continue to have on my life, but I was now able to see that the second chance allowed me to put a new meaning to those things that happen to me. this had not only allowed me to be grateful for the hardships, but it allowed me to view and love people in a different way. I was hopeful which is something I could never say before. I was able to find meaning and purpose in my life like there was a reason for me being in Santa Barbara, me having the major I did, and meeting seemingly random people. living this life full of meaning did not only give me peace and hope for what was once broken, but it allowed me to life for something other than myself. I saw others and the reason that I am was to do something bigger than what I wanted to do earlier in my life. something bigger than playing hockey and sweeping girls off their feet. it was to make known this restoration and redemption that happened in my life and show others that they are surely loved. I was able to see where I was at had a reason, where I had been had a reason, and where I will be will have a reason. the only question that is left is what am I going to choose that reason to be. that is the thing about a second chance, it is a choice and you have to choose it and you are responsible for that choice.

the choice that I am making now is to love my past, to love my core, to love myself, and to love my god, so that I can love others. I am a firm believer in the restoration process that I went through. my impairment has allowed me to be prepared to invite others into that process, so they too can have justice with their past. I would like to be able to join both of these things together and teach and implement a restorative justice program that redeems sociological and personal problems, so that others can have hope too.

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