Take A (Second) Chance On Me

This week’s FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION caught my eye immediately:

Do you believe in giving people second chances?

If so, why? If not, why not?

Absolutely yes! Wow, yessssssssss! Of course! The main reason for giving people second chances is that surely we appreciate it when someone gives us a second chance.

bitI am imperfect. I make mistakes. People forgive me. They give me second chances, third chances, fourth chances and more! There are very very very few situations where I would refuse to give another imperfect human a second chance. Look at what happened with Jack and me! Goldfinch once said to me that he marvelled at my powers of forgiveness (in regards to Jack). I think later on in this post, I will recap the basic outline of the contact between Jack and I.

I am not saying this just because I am a softie. I see a legitimate basis for people being forgiving and extending second, third, fourth, fifth….chances to others. We are all imperfect. None of us have had a completely perfect start.

babbyEven if our parents were lovely and did their best to rear us well, they may have inclined us with mistaken thoughts and habits. It is hard to find the right balance in all things. Even the best make mistakes. Some people had a terrible start in life without love and kindness and patience. The cumulative effect of cruelty and abuse are impossible to measure.

I can think of a hundred, nay, a thousand reasons why someone might let you down, make a mistake, tell a lie, break their promise, take something that is not theirs, forget something important…and all manner of other mistakes. I can think of even more reasons to look over their mistake. Stress is a big cause of mistakes. People say and do things when they are stressed – it is so important that people are allowed second chances.

tifkuyI guess there is a balance to find. Some mistakes are minor, but others are more serious. If someone has deliberately done something wrong, it may be that we have to have some words with the person to make it clear that it is not something we can condone or approve of. But finding the balance is important. Quite rightly, we might despise certain wrong acts – but the truth is everybody makes mistakes. Most of us do wrong things due to weakness, not wickedness.

I know some people might not believe in a Creator, but if you do, you know that our Creator has arranged to give a second chance to almost the entire human race. At great cost to himself, he has bought back what Adam threw in His face. Adam was perfect. There was no basis to forgive the wicked decision he made. Yet he was allowed to have offspring. All of his offspring had an imperfect start.

paradise7But soon the human race will have a chance to work towards the purpose our Creator gave to Adam – fill the earth and make it a paradise…take care of it’s creatures. Mankind suffers because of Adam’s decision. The world system has damaged human health, our environment and other creatures. But soon disease will be eradicated and death will be undone. Mankind will have a clean slate, a fresh start, a second chance.

Eventually all mankind will be perfect. Then they will have to choose whether to be like Adam and choose to think they can rule themselves better than their Creator or whether to be like Jesus, the firstborn of all creation who has always been obedient to his Creator. Jesus has been given a special role. Effectively he becomes the adoptive father of the human family that Adam severely damaged. In his role, he will patiently teach and guide us to thrive and to care for our responsibility on this planet properly.

I mentioned earlier the relationship between Jack and I. I have written about it a lot, and I didn’t want it to dominate my post. But here is a basic outline of what happened:

2010 – I became an international volunteer.

2011 – Jack became an international volunteer.

People started to talk about Jack and me (we had worked on similar projects and been at the same social events). Over the next couple of years this went from mild teasing to people I did not know being fascinated about whether he and I were romantically involved.

2013 – Jack moved into our apartment.

Abstract, Amateur, Aperture, BodyThe rumours intensified. Photos of the two of us (still have no idea who took those pictures) spread online. People said whatever they wanted about us, there was no limit to their imagination and in some cases their depravity. People I hardly knew would joke with me about what they were sure was a sexual relationship. The worst of comments were on social media.

Meanwhile, inside the flat, Jack and I were hardly speaking. I asked him repeatedly to try to stop the gossip. He is used to being in the limelight and his response was to tell me to be more thick skinned and to assure me that people would get bored and move on to some other celebrity.

2014 – I couldn’t take anymore, I moved out of our apartment into another apartment in the same complex.

names.pngThe rumours became worse than ever. People said very cruel things about me specifically. Names like tart, slut, slag, whore and others were used about me…with all manner of prefixes and accusations.

Jack and I were estranged. I did not trust him anymore. He was hurt by my decision to move out. The tension became worse and worse. I thought he was openly hostile towards me. He thought I blamed him for everything.

Rumours began that I was having an affair with a married man, whose wife was one of my close colleagues. I suspected Jack as being the origin of these lies.

2015 – One night I was so overcome with despair after being the subject of cruel taunts and damaging slander for several years, which had affected my work and social life, and eroded my self-confidence, I didn’t want to go home incase I bumped into Jack (I had seen him four times that day). I went to a park. I was the victim of a serious crime that night. The following morning a security guard found me and called an ambulance. I received serious head injuries that night which still cause me challenges five years later.

My sudden departure from London sparked more cruel rumours. I got rid of my smartphone because my heart was so utterly broken at what people were saying.

2016 – After a year of recovering from my physical injuries and the emotional trauma of my attack, I returned to London. My first boss was more than inappropriate on several occasions. I had to leave. My second boss was better. But the part time job (20 hours) I signed up for turned out to be 60+ hours each week. I was exhausted. One day I had an accident at work (my head!) and they had to take me to a local A&E. I was told I was not fit for work.

I had to go back up north to be with family for a couple of months.

2017 – flat1.jpgI returned to London. I found a safe little nest, hidden away behind two huge security gates. I found suitable work nearby. I was able to resume my voluntary work activities and have expanded them so that I work for charities on an unpaid basis for more hours than I am engaged in paid work.

At the end of 2017 I met Goldfinch ❤ He returned to Australia 14 months after I met him.

2019 – I lost my little apricot. I visited Australia to visit Goldfinch.

In August, Jack and I just happened to be on the same road in London. Within two weeks he called me. He called again a few days later. Within a week, me met up to talk…twice. We talked a lot about the past. There was a lot of forgiveness and letting go of hurt and making peace. The next time we met, he told me his feelings for me.

In December, we told our families that we were now a couple.

jas2020 – In January, we started letting close friends know and socialising with our friends. We went to a couple of big events together. We walked through local streets and had coffee in cafes without feeling we had to hide from the world.

In March, when many people were desperately trying to get back to the UK because of travel disruption, Jack left the UK for Africa where he is working with international charities. (I am currently cross with him…but at the same time proud of him.)

JACK AND I WOULD NOT BE TOGETHER IF IT WAS NOT FOR SECOND CHANCES. I AM SO GLAD THAT HE GAVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE AND I AM VERY GLAD I GAVE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE.

decisionsMy mind and heart are at peace about the past. Despite all the damage, despite it seeming like an impossible situation that could never be resolved…Jack and I are together (obviously not physically at the moment) and he and I make an amazing team. I treasure him all the more for knowing that we both blew our first shot, so we are both prizing the second chance we have extended to each other. I am thrilled that Jack and I have each other despite all that went before. In fact, the pain of the past has faded completely. I still remember what happened, but it no longer hurts like it used to. When Jack puts his arms around me…I feel joy that we beat all the odds!

You knew this was coming, surely!

_____________________

This was my response to this week’s FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION

https://fivedotoh.com/2020/04/22/fandangos-provocative-question-66/

FPQ

I’m On My Way

I must admit I am enjoying my walk to and from work. With the nice weather, I am walking along wearing my sunglasses, sipping my home made coffee from my papyrus reusable coffee cup and swinging my little lunch tote. I still sing. Every morning I sing on the way to work to fortify my heart for the day ahead.

Adult, Back View, Beautiful, Coffee

I am on my way to work…off to face the dragon that is the …you know. But so far, I am going strong. Another day, another dollar. But more than than…I feel part of a team. We are all in this together, each of us doing our bit.

Any Advice From Other Runners?

Adidas, Pureboost, Purebost Dpr, Sneaker I mentioned last week that I was thinking of starting gentle jogs because I can’t go hiking at the moment.

Well, I looked for my running shoes and realized I must have thrown them away. They were around eight years old and very battered (I used to do a lot of running). I mentioned my thoughts about jogging to a very kind member of my family who proceeded to order me some new running shoes, which arrived here at the start of the week. Very sweet

I love the look of them – navy (my colour) and with a discreet three stripes emblazoned on the side. But when I tried them on I was not at all sure about them. They are my regular size but they felt extremely tight. I have loosened the laces which makes them more comfortable. So far I have just worn them inside my apartment because I am not sure if I should return or exchange them. I have not taken the labels off for that reason.

Photo of Woman Listening to Music on Earphones Jogging Down a Paved StreetI decided to ask Adidas for their opinion. I had an online chat with someone who did not really answer my question. I asked if the running shoes are supposed to be a snug fit. He said I could exchange them for a larger size. Unfortunately they have sold out of the next size up and the next size up again, so that was not an option. He then suggested he could send me a completely different style off running shoe in my size. I am sorry, but I am not the type of person who can be seen running through the streets of London with bright orange and purple feet. No way on earth was my reply.

So I am now left with the predicament. Should running shoes feel this snug? Wearing them around the house makes my feet start to tingle after about half an hour. That does not seem like a good sign to me. Should I just send them back and explain to my family member that I could not exchange them?

Changing My Mind More Often Than I Change My Knickers

Aaaah sigh! I must be a nightmare to work with. My lovely friend who is helping me with the covers of my books has tried to implement some of the suggestions I had after your helpful comments earlier this week.

Anyway…my friend has been very helpful yet again and has updated my front cover again, although he said he is happy to keep tweaking it if it doesn’t work for me. So this is the new cover for Part Two.

He has completely revamped the cover for Part Two, entitled WHERE IS THIS PLACE THEY CALL “HOME”?

where is this place they call home coverThis was the cover I showed you earlier in the week, which he had changed at the weekend. It’s so cute! It is based on my idea for the front cover which was to make it deliberately cartoon-style, like some other book covers I have seen. I guess the cartoon feel might not make it clear that our character is on an epic emotional journey

I think the suggestion that the three covers have more in common to identify them as a series was important. .That is not entirely easy to do, because I don’t want my main character’s face on all three books. But we had the idea of using similar colours across all three parts.

Well…my friend selected lots of images and it turns out I have an incredibly pedantic streak. Either the woman in the images looked wrong or I did not like the colouring. But there were a couple of images from Olya Adamovich from Pixabay that I was drawn to. Half of Part Two takes place in a very snowy location (trying so hard not to drop spoilers) and of course right from the start arise questions like where Annabelle will end up? Where does she feel at home or a sense of belonging? What is it that makes somewhere special so that it feels like your home?

This is a reminder of Part One (which has now been tweaked a bit). I know they do not have a wholly coherent theme, but hopefully there is more of a similarity in the feel or atmosphere of the covers.

We might have to revisit the covers again, but as soon as I am finished with Part Three – which I am super excited about – I have a completely new character that is taking shape in a few short stories I have been working on. I really do not know what her story will be quite yet though…but I promise you this, she will be a one novel story. I am not sure I have the patience to write a whole series about one character for a long time.

A Test Of Patience

Woman, Female, Beauty, Model, Fashion You only see the eyes because the rest of my face is hidden behind a facemask. I asked myself throughout the day:

– Do my eyes tell the story of what is going on in my mind?

– Do my eyes reveal the amused smile that lingers every time you speak?

– Do my eyes communicate that I am starting to wonder how I am going to remain calm and friendly and patient despite you wittering on about the most bizarre subjects and expressing the most baffling opinions?

It is so good I have to wear a facemask, because I do not know how I would hide how utterly irritated I was after ten hours of you following me around like a lost puppy and asking me a thousand questions about nothingness.

I was very very very nice to you, placid and polite at all times…but I ask please that you go and follow someone else around because I am afraid I might lose my patience if you do that to me again!

Travelling Companions

I was going to take some time off during the summer again. Last year someone paid a fortune to live in my little nest for a few weeks while I was out in Australia. So we were planning to do the same this year. Rent out my flat while I went away again.

away.png

Jack thought it will be a great idea for us to have a holiday together. He knew he was going to be abroad working on projects a lot. He wondered if at some point we could squeeze in a week’s holiday abroad. All those ideas seem futile now.

If we had have been able to have a holiday together, I can already see that he and I have slightly different ideas about where we would want to travel, the accomodation we would enjoy and what we would want to do. Me: somewhere with a comfortable temperature (if we were going to do extreme temperatures, I would prefer a snow holiday over a hot one – sweating night and day is not comfortable), stay with friends in their home, do normal stuff with our friends, fit in with their way of life. Jack: somewhere hot, nice hotel, luxury pool and restaurants, do things we would never be able to do back in England.

I wonder what kind of travelling companions Jack and I would make!!! If the travel industry is still there when the smoke and dust clear from the air, we might give it a try. There could be trouble ahead!!!

Making My Ideas Come To Life

Bulletin Board, Laptop, ComputerA friend who knows more about computers than I do helped me to develop some ideas I had for the front cover of my third part in the three part LEARNERS AT LOVE series of novels I have been working on.

That gave us the idea to try to improve the first two parts which are already available on Amazon. These are the changes we have made to Part One and Part Two. I would love to know what you think!

book1Just a reminder…this was Part One WE HIDE WHAT WE HATE ABOUT OURSELVES before:

Originally my friend had the idea of a woman who looked forlorn on the front cover. My friend also picked up on the colour purple having links to some of the storyline (don’t want to drop any spoilers).

The amazing image below from Aaron Olson was one we both agreed on. I also liked it because I thought it captured a little of the music world Annabelle Riley has spent years in before she meets both Robin and Chris. There is at least one conversation in the story when she makes clear that she does not like the person she was becoming back then, which is why she hardly ever talks about her life back then. We are thinking of tweaking the text so that they you can see more of the face in this picture. But it was great to finally agree on an image that seemed to capture the character of Annabelle when we meet her at the start of the LEARNERS AT LOVE series.

 

U would love to know if you have any thoughts as I am testing my friends patience by asking him to tweak this and that and the other. I am very lacking when it comes to creative art.

book2This was the original cover for Part Two of the serie, which is called WHERE IS THIS PLACE THEY CALL “HOME”?

Believe me, I was grateful for my friends help, I am so pathetic when it comes to anything arty or that requires knowledge of computer software. My friend has been a gem. But I felt the image did not have any clear links to any of the places mentioned in Part Two.

Annabelle ends up doing quite a bit of travelling in Part Two and the question of where she really belongs keeps coming up.

I have to admit, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted for this front cover. I kept looking at novels in bookshops and I was drawn to a more cartoon feel for what is essentially a lighthearted romance tale (with mental health themes woven throughout all three parts).

where is this place they call home coverI wanted a cover with a house, a blue sky and a green landscape. My friend found the perfect Clipart image to correspond with my ideas. I am so grateful!

You may know I am eager to finish Part Three, entitled THE VOYAGE OF A LIFETIME. The current challenge we are all facing has meant I am doing a lot more work than normal, so my progress on finishing Part Three is becoming agonizingly slow. I am sorry about that. But I love what I am adding to Part Three.

There will be more attention on the relationship between Chris and Annabelle as I realized I needed to answer some questions – more for Chris than anyone!

If you read the series as I published it section by section on my website you may be aware how very important it is for me to get this part just right. I have had a clear idea about the front cover for some time, and we are aiming for a cover similar to this. We will correct the typo of course!

iadhfais

My conclusion is….it is so great to have friends who can make your ideas come to life!

A Father’s Love

Woman, Kids, Girls, Properties

My dear little daughter, I want to express

How much I’ve wanted to save you from distress

I did all I could to make your dreams come true

To keep the birds singing, to keep the skies blue

I’ve been watching you grow so bright eyed and smart

I’m even prouder to witness your strength of heart

As this world becomes darker don’t suffer fright

Fix your eyes on me, hold onto my hand tight

Think of how far we’ve come along together

Walk on with me and you’ll go on forever

Tears To My Eyes

Eye, Blue Eye, Woman, Eye LashesI am sorry to say that when I first heard about a bunch of celebrities doing a thang to say thank you to people who work extremely hard doing heart rendering tasks and are paid a fraction compared to most of these celebrities – I thought…well, I will not tell you what I thought! Jack knows what I think of celebrities.

However, there were a couple of performances I enjoyed…and this one was probably my favourite. It moved me to tears. I do appreciate it when someone takes something from their heart and expresses it in a beautiful way. I believe this lady has a very genuine reason to be singing these words.

Well…I am going to get an early night before another day at work tomorrow.

From The Eyes Of A Child

Children, Togo, Group, People, BlackSo this week, I started to think that it would be better if we were more like children. Children who trust those who are responsible to care for them. I am not sure why adults complicate things so much, bickering and questioning and grumbling.

I also had a wonderful reminder of how special people are. He sent me some videos from the area of Africa he is in at the moment. Jack is washing himself and his clothes with a bucket of water. But wow – the singing and the joy from the people he is working with, training them in skills that will benefit them and their communities for many years to come. When you watch videos of beautiful smiles they become infectious. I am so glad Jack is filming so much.

Something else that is cheering me up, is working on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post this week. The questions are of course from our fabulous Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Take a look at her original post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/04/13/share-your-world-4-13-2020/

QUESTIONS:

What do you do to get rid of stress? 

ewrhgiInstant fix for me is singing. I always knew that singing was good for me, but recently even more so. I especially find songs that are about gratitude help me. There is a line in a song that my friend’s daughter sings over and over that I often have in my mind often as I walk to work (not knowing what the day at work will involve). The line is “when each morning I wake, I remember to take, just a moment to thank Him for this day“.

I find the media would make me drown in stress if I did not severely limit how much I watch. I usually try to just watch some of the BBC Breakfast show because I think they do a great job of keeping their show balanced. But sometimes it means I am leaving my little nest with my heart gripped with worry. So…I start to sing. I love the effect it has on me. I can feel my face start to smile and my heart feels as if it is being healed of all soreness. By the time I reach work I am ready to face absolutely anything that comes.

Kids, Children, Face, Smile, ChildhoodI should explain, my friend is from mainland China. She is teaching her little children to know their Creator. The song was something I saw them singing and so I wanted to know if it is available in English. It turns out it is an international hit.

I was amazed to find an incredibly long list of languages it has been recorded in…including Welsh! I showed it to a Gujarati speaking colleague who started weeping because she thought it was so beautiful. I have to admit, I have been moved by some of the children’s songs I have discovered, teaching children about what life is really made of.

I also sent it to Jack, who was able to play it in one of the more than fourteen languages spoken in the area he is working. He played it to the children and a day later he send me a video of them singing it. Wonderful!

A long time before the current challenge the world is facing, I have learnt to accept that the injustices and suffering in the world are temporary. Death is temporary. They will be undone. Death will be undone. I often dwell on the joys ahead. The joys ahead help me cope with the stress of human independence now. I can’t wait to see a happy healthy human race, who live without fear of violence, disease or any other threat.

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?

ughjdsafI don’t believe that myself. But it has fascinated me to visit museums in different parts of the world and to see ancient burial sites unearthed revealing the belief that you could take things with you into an afterlife. In Sweden we saw evidence that people were buried with family, servants, horses and all manner of luxuries and practical objects like tools.

Our Creator has promised to restore life, not possessions, to those who have died. But there is a silly part of me that imagines being laid to rest with my private journals next to me. The only reason is to keep them private. All my silliness, all my worries and my dreams and wishes, laid to rest until the moment I wake up again.

I realized long ago that every thought, every feeling, every tear, every smile was observed by someone who loved me more than anyone else did. I am not afraid because I am sure that if I was to be in the grave for a while, I would be kept very safely within the memory of my Creator until it is time to wake me up.

I have always just hoped that if I went to sleep before the end of the corrupt system, my loved ones would know not to worry about me. I had one major near death experience the night I was attacked. I remember thinking how important it is to make sure the people in your life know how special they are to you. Let them know how very wonderful they are to you. Don’t leave them with any guilt or regrets. Confirm your love so that they remember you with great fondness.

What’s the opposite of a koala?

I don’t know. A pike perhaps?

Do I have to explain my answer?

Koalas live in Australia. So I was thinking of a creature that lives here in the UK. They may have pike in Australia – I should Google this really.

Koalas live in trees. I know because I saw them myself – so gorgeous! Pike live in the water.

Koalas are incredibly cute. Pike – not so cute, in fact they can be pretty aggressive.

Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves I believe. Pike eat mostly other fish, smaller fish or large fish and sometimes even other pike.

What’s the creepiest tech out there?  

uihvhI am not very ofay with tech to be honest. But some people have some kind of app that allows them to track someone else’s phone. I can see some advantages of this. Tracking your teenager might seem a sensible idea. But in other circumstances, I find it a bit creepy.

Aren’t there some weird apps that alter your appearance? I think some of them make you into a cat, others age you. I don’t know…the more I think of these weird apps, the more glad I feel that I don’t have a smartphone.

It does concern me that people can type your name into a Google search engine and find things about you. That’s the reason why I choose to maintain my anonymity. I don’t know what else I can do to eradicate the unkindness that spread years ago when Jack and I first came into contact and then when he moved into our apartment. He does not seem to think it is possible to eradicate all of the unkindness either. He has always said that people move on to someone else, they get bored, they forget what it was that interested them and who it was they were being unkind about.

I guess the point is…all these technical applications are tools, but when they fall into the hands of a creepy person, they become creepy and sinister.

GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE

What method are you using to find your smile right now? 

esuthrdtFinding my smile? I look in the mirror and there it is! My whole face is a big smile because I have been smiling for a lifetime. Maybe it’s the deep joy and excitement about the future that no challenge can eradicate.

People. People make me smile. The people I love, my family and friends who are all being wonderful – and I mean by that, they are all being obedient and trusting of the direction for their protection. I sometimes wonder why so many people question so much that is done for their good. Well, it is either because they do not trust those making decisions or they think they are not being dignified with full accounts as to the entire decision making process. Neither are my family going to extremes. They are rational and content with what they have. But like beautiful children they are doing exactly what they were asked to do over a month ago – they are staying at home. The younger ones shop for the older ones. Family life (amongst my roughly 200 member family) is taking place over the phone and over the internet.

Hat, Fashion, Style, Happy, Man, HipsterThe guy who keeps on turning up at our practice (he has always been prone to anxiety and is a frequent visitor to our practice, but I am worried that his anxiety is climbing to new levels) who is covered in PPE beyond belief. I am not sure whether he is preparing to go deep sea diving or moon walking…but his PPE is a reflection of how scared he is of catching the …you know. Bless him – I always make sure I have a little chat with him. He has a place in my heart now – the little lamb!

I smile when I see other people smiling. I love to see people happy and healthy. It reminds me of what all this is about. We want people to be happy and healthy and safe. As another of the songs my friend’s daughter has shown me confirms – we are a world wide family and the more we love each other, the happier it will help us to be. We – the human family – we are beyond borders. Soon the whole earth will be united under one government that makes decisions that will help the earth and all of it’s inhabitants thrive!