“I need a chance. A second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, a word, a signal, a nod, a little breath, just to fool myself, to catch myself. To make it real.” ~Strange Currencies. –R.E.M.
How many chances should you give someone before it’s obvious they’re just not that into you, that your friendship means about as much to them as this loaf of bread? Does it take a second, a third, or even a fourth chance failing to show you that your energies would best be spent elsewhere? I honestly don’t know, or maybe it depends on the individual, on the breadth of the chance, or on your own resilience.
I’ve made mistakes, some major, some minor, some that could have been avoided, and others that I’m glad I didn’t avoid, but all attributable to me in the end. And I’ve lost friends from some of those mistakes, which, while regrettable, means perhaps they weren’t meant to be with me for this part of my journey anyway. I’m sure you’ve known people like that, the ones who give you the one chance and then disappear when you mess it up.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging them. They were obviously not built to withstand the flood, and I wouldn’t have wanted them to drown. But it hurt, that all it took was messing up one chance for them to declare that I just wasn’t worth it. Maybe I wasn’t worth it, but it would have been nice to get a second chance to prove something to them that I’ll never get to prove now.
So how many chances would be enough? A horde of chances? An infinite number of wrong turns I could make and still have someone in the passenger seat, along for the ride whatever comes? Maybe that would be too much, the blind faith that others would have to put in me to let those chances add up without batting an eyelash. Or perhaps they would be judging me the entire time, keeping me around because they can always say they’re better than someone else. You know the type, so are they worth the time?
Or perhaps a horde of chances isn’t a blank check that I can fill in whenever. Maybe it’s the ability to go down the road with someone else, to be there when they need it and to slide back when they don’t. It might be the tough talks, and the tough love, and the challenges that make me a better person, that shift me in ways that I don’t return from. Perhaps a horde of chances means someone is there for me, regardless of the mistakes I make, but who also doesn’t settle for that version of me. It’s someone who pushes me to learn from each mistake, to take solace that I survived but not to sit on my laurels because there’s more to come.
Then, if I don’t learn from them, that horde of chances can trickle out in a river red with rain, testament to the fact that I’ve only been fooling myself all along, that the only person I can really count on is myself, and even then only when I’m not pretending that everything’s okay. Because everything isn’t okay. And every single chance someone else gives me is a blessing from some higher being, so I shouldn’t take any of them for granted. Even in a supposed of horde there comes a point of no return.
I don’t want to let it get that far.