Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Second Chance Wednesdays - Part 9

Welcome back to Second Chance Wednesdays! We have had a couple of weeks off, but it is once again time to turn to the People of the Second Chance's poster series, Never Beyond. If you are new to this campaign, you can read more about it and find links to all of my Never Beyond posts here.

POTSC is keeping us on our toes by coming at the idea of grace from a slightly different angle this week. Instead of giving us a villain, they have given us more of a metaphor. This week's poster is Jaws. Yes, the shark. The POTSC blog says, 
Jaws represents the unprovoked attack. The terrifying unknown, preceded by reputation and worst-case scenarios. 
Common wisdom says to avoid sharks. They’re dangerous. They kill. They are to be avoided. They are to be feared. 
Except, if you seek out the facts, you’ll find that sharks actually kill very few people. DEER kill exponentially more people than sharks. 
Yet the fear persists because of the headlines … the movies … the collective wisdom.
Many of us have met Jaws, even if we’ve never been to the ocean. There’s a Jaws in our past. Our office. Our school. Our home. Our neighborhood.
And as we face the shark – whether in our dreams or in our waking hours – we’re left with a choice.
Do we embrace fear, judgement, hatred, and revenge? Or do we see the human behind the shark? The human … in the shark suit?

Unfortunately,  I am completely caught up in fear and revulsion of the shark right now. Two nights ago, I was hit by an "unprovoked attack"... not by a human wearing a shark suit. It felt like it was more of a shark in a human suit - it came from someone who would be least expected to attack.

I came home late in the evening from taking our smallest dog to the emergency vet for an injury. I got on my computer and decided to check out Facebook to see what my friends were up to - they are usually fairly entertaining, those friends of mine - before I went to bed. I thought for sure I would see something funny that would  help me shake off the bad feelings of the pet getting injured.  Except that is not what I found.

A friend of mine had left me a private message on Facebook. I had not talked to directly her in the last day or two, but several days before I had left her a voicemail telling her I was concerned that she had mentioned back pain on FB and wanted to know how she was doing. I received a text back thanking me for checking on her. So I was not expecting the contents of her message.

She started out by telling me she was unfriending me on Facebook. But as I got to the bottom of the message she said not to call her either, so I understood that she was not just unfriending me on a social networking site. She was not wanting to be my friend at all. 

Her reasoning? She says, " I have been having a real struggle with the choices you've been making in your life & know it's none of my business, but I am hurt." What choices, you might ask? Well, I have not been out drinking, drugging, or sleeping around. Mostly, I've just been staying home, and that is different than what she was used to. She said as much in her message. 

Before my Mom got sick at the beginning of February, I was involved in hanging out with this woman and our other mutual friends. They understood, of course, why I was spending so much time at the hospital during Mom's illness. But after Mom died, I did not go back to spending as much time with this group of friends. I stayed home to be with my father. And I started to write more - finding a new community to get involved with online. I did not replace my other friends. I thought I was just adding to the people I knew. This woman did not see it that way. The message went on a little longer and said some other things that were hurtful, but I don't need to share that here. I just wanted you to understand that I felt like an attack had come out of nowhere.

My first response after a horrible day was just pure anger. I composed a speech in my head that just tore apart all of her lame logic and condemned her for faulting me in not meeting expectations that I had not agreed to.  I complained bitterly to my husband (who was also completely shocked at this attack coming out of the blue). Hubby was calmer about it than I was, which just made me angrier. To stay with the POTSC metaphor, I wanted to get a harpoon gun and go shark hunting. The thought being, "take a bite out of me and I will take you down!" Ah, so sad that thoughts like those come to me so naturally, but I'm not going to lie to you. I was hurt and seething.

More from the POTSC blog,
At POTSC, we believe that while the movie monster may have been unrelenting, people are not horror-movie sharks. People are real. There are large groups of people in need of a second chance, and it’s our choice whether or not to abandon collective wisdom and let them back in.
So what do you believe? Do you have a shark in your life? Have you forgiven them?

I have not forgiven her. But I hope to soon. I pray that I will. I do not know what a second chance will look like in this situation. POTSC caught me right in the middle of a real-life-second-chance-worthy drama this time. All I can say is that I know who I want to be. I know who God created me to be. It's not a shark hunter.

Do you have a shark in your life? How are you handling that situation?


  1. Wow. What an honest an open post!

    I am going through something similar as you currently, but from my own sister. We have never had a great relationship, and I felt that I need to do something about this yesterday. The response back got me SO angry, I had to leave the house for a while, otherwise I might have done something I would be sorry about for the rest of my life.

    Luckily God gave me wisdom in this, after praying about this a lot, and I managed to respond in a better way, and it seems like I was able to get the shark nets up just in time.

    Praying that your friend will see the error in her ways, and that you will be able to restore your relationship.

  2. @unsafechallenge Oh, Coenraad, I am so sorry. Those family attacks are the worst. I'm still struggling with how to incorporate second chances into my family without turning myself into prey. I guess that just comes down to trusting God, sometimes, but I admit to keeping the defenses up.

    Praying for you as well, my brother.

  3. I can forgive the shark - it's only doing what sharks do and it doesn't know any better. People on the other hand are somewhat more difficult. I love the line about "a shark in a human suit". Sadly I 've had to deal with a few too many of those and I'll always have the scars.

  4. Just wanting to drop a hug here in the comment box. So sorry for your hurt, friend. :(

  5. @RB, I've been thinking about this for a few minutes now and this is what I came up with: Even after Jesus rose from the grave, He retained the scars of His crucifixion. While I completely believe that the Father is powerful enough to remove my scars, I am not sure that I expect Him to. That's all I've got on this one.

    @Jen, thank you for the hug. I know that I am covered by hugs, prayers, and love on this one.

  6. I am with you on the not-so-crazy-about-sharks thing. Human or other. :) But I just keep thinking of that Saturday Night Live skit about the Landshark. Have you ever seen that one? I don't know why, but I crack up every time.

  7. @Laura, I had forgotten about the Landshark! Thanks for sharing that. I'll have to be more careful about opening the door now. ;)


Thank you for joining me here.

Moral support, prayers, and witty comments always appreciated.