Second Chance

Today, there is no scripture. We just wanted to share a cheesy story of love to make you smile this week.
-Love Speaks Daily

Janet had waited for over an hour past their appointed time to meet. Once again, he was late. She couldn’t understand why Mr. Barker could never get his children to their tutoring sessions on time. Every week, like clockwork, he shows up late with some excuse. This week she was putting her foot down. She was not going to call him. She was not going to accept his excuses anymore. Today was her last day tutoring his children. She was tired of being good while people took advantage of her.

As soon as she had the thought, her phone rang. When she saw the number for the local hospital, her heart started to pound harder. Who could be calling her from Mercy General? She had so many relatives in Cleveland, including her parents, and a multitude of friends. She took a deep breath and then answered. 

The nurse on the other line explained to her that Mr. Barker had been in a terrible accident and that his children were at the hospital without adult supervision. Nurse Kerri wanted to know if Janet could come down and sit with the children while they operated on their father? 

After asking a ton of questions, Janet was told that Mr. Barker was a widower who had lost his wife to a home invasion. He and the children had no family nearby and Janet was listed as their emergency contact. After getting as many details as she could, Janet told her business partner that she had to leave for the rest of the day and to call her other students to reschedule. 

As she drove to the hospital, she replayed all the times she had berated Mr. Barker for being late. Each time, he would say something about needing to get it together. She never considered what that meant. She had created this image of an inconsiderate and inconsistent man who was always using his charm to get out of trouble. She knew the type. Her ex-husband was the type. Her dad was the type. All the men she dated were the type. She never considered that he was struggling with grief, working two jobs, and trying to raise two boys and a girl all on his own. By the time she got to the hospital, she was filled with guilt and ready to make amends.

As soon as she turned the corner to enter the waiting room, Mr. Barker’s daughter, the youngest at 10 years old came bolting towards her. Cagney immediately started telling her all that had happened. They were rushing to get to their appointment with her on time. Traffic was backed up on the freeway and her father was stressing about not a lot of things. He didn’t see the car switch lanes suddenly and when he tried to swerve to avoid an accident, they slammed into the divider. Cagney was spared because she was on the right side of the vehicle. He had not picked up the boys from school yet. Coach Riggs brought the boys to the hospital after practice but had to get to an appointment and couldn’t stay. 

Janet went into the waiting room and saw Gregory and Michael sitting quietly. They barely spoke when she greeted them. At 14 and 16, she knew they were worried about losing another parent. She sat in silence with them. She prayed for Mr. Barker. She asked God for forgiveness. She didn’t know what else to do except to wait. 

Four hours later, the surgery was complete, and Mr. Barker was on the way to recovery. The orthopedic surgeon had done a lot of reconstruction to do on his arm and leg, but she was able to get the work done without any complications. He had a long road to recovery and Janet planned to use her resources to help him. She had a big family, plenty of friends, and many people who owed her favors. 

While waiting on the operation, she had a long talk with God in the chapel. God reminded her that all the waiting she had done for Mr. Barker did not go in vain. The extra time she gave him was the blessing he needed to “get it together.” 

After the surgery, Mr. Barker, Peter, had to give up his construction job. Janet hired him as her third tutor so he could put his engineering degree to use while recovering. A year later, they had grown her tutoring practice into a full-fledged after-school program, focusing on children who were being raised by single parents. Peter started a mentoring program for STEM students and gave up the construction business all together. He had gone into engineering to please his parents but now he was following his own path as a math teacher and a mentor. 

He credited Janet all the time with his transformation. Janet would always smile at God when he did. Only God could have turned things around for them.  

Three years after the accident, as she walked down the aisle towards Peter, Janet couldn’t help whispering a thank you to God for giving her a second chance. 

Prompt for Thought: When has God given you a second, third, fourth chance? Spend some time journaling about it.

Prayer for the Journey: God, we thank you for being the God of multiple chances. Thank you for every course correction, every door closed, every door opened, every chance to get it right. Thank you for your patience, love, grace, and mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.