“Please,” said the manager. “Somebody call the pound.”
“Wait a minute!” I hollered. “That’s my dog. Don’t call the pound.”
All the Winn-Dixie employees turned around and looked at me, and I knew I had done something big. And maybe stupid, too. But I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t let that dog go to the pound.
from Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press, 2000
2001 John Newbery Honor
I’ve started over many times lately and long ago. I looked at each first day of school as a start-over. Even now, show me a stack of fresh notebooks, full glue bottles, and pointy crayons and I’m right back in school, breathing ditto ink. I’m in the same physical place, but emotionally I’m back there, but somewhere new, too.
I call it starting over when I climb back on the Weight Watchers wagon. I’ve slipped off, crash-landed, and disembarked knowingly so many times that it might not even count as a second chance. Actually, I stopped counting years ago. I wake up each morning with intentions to eat consciously, cook healthy meals, and make good choices. Lots of days it all works out fine. But not always.
Sewing quilts for my grandchildren gave me many do-over opportunities. Whether I attached a piece in the wrong place or chose the wrong piece altogether, the patten was upset. There was nothing to be done but take it apart and do it over again. One time I cut my pieces in the wrong direction. That mistake was so big it required a trip back to the fabric store to replenish.
But that’s not what I mean. The do-overs and start-overs and second chances I’m thinking about are tricky things. And they all have to do with forgiveness. Accepting forgiveness from others is not hard for me. Asking for forgiveness from others is usually harder. It involves deep thoughts and careful phrases. And it's face-to-face personal..
But even that is easier for me than forgiving myself. When other people are involved, I usually know who and what I need to forgive. If I have sincerely tried to make amends, but receive only rejection, it hurts. I won’t fool you about that. But if I truly did all I could, well, I did all I could.
When I’m the only one involved, the forgivee (me) and the forgiver (me again) both have to be willing to accept responsibility *and* forgiveness. I’ve let myself down by not following through on projects I thought I wanted to do. I’ve disappointed myself by not keeping in touch with friends I know (hope) want to hear from me. I’ve been angry with myself for choosing badly, talking too loudly (figuratively and literally), and not stepping up when I knew I could.
A dog named Winn-Dixie got a second chance. He deserved it. He had a loving nature.
Maybe we all deserve second chances. We all have loving natures, even if we hide them.
This is the time of year for forgiveness. I’ll start by forgiving myself.
-—stay curious (and forgiving!)