It's about ten minutes since the credits for "Cinderella Man" rolled across our television screen. As with most "guy flicks" which my wife and I watch together, I again fight back tears, which seems to serve only to intensify the emotion. It's been years since I've cried, but reflecting back upon the rare and few times when I 'let go', it's clearly a liberating and refreshing experience. It wipes the slate clean, it purifies the contaminants from your head, like a long overdue rain storm- all of the automobile drippings, dog excrement and dust is washed away clean, leaving only gleaming asphalt, which is a nice thing. This may explain why I love rain storms. Seeing the dirty run-off as it cascades down the curb and disappears into the storm drain has a wonderful effect on me.
I believe that like myself, most men wait until the cup is completely overflowing, before they allow themselves to cry, and when it takes hold, it's in private, it's with heaving sobs, and it's intense, it's much like a passing rain storm. It's powerful release yields a transformation, a 'lightening' of the soul. You feel as light as a cloud in it's wake. Personally, mine strike during road trips, driving alone, when suddenly the air, the smells, the memories and emotions, the song on the radio is just....so....perfect....that there is no possible way to avoid it. When those planets line up- find some Kleenex- and just let it rip.
So what's this to do with a "second chance"? Nothing really, I just needed to get that of my chest before I could get into it. In the movie, Cinderella Man, a washed up fighter gets a second chance to return to the ring and make his mark. Having watched Million Dollar Baby recently, we were both in the proper mind-set to appreciate this film. It seems to me by the way, that most "guy flicks" contain the "second chance" theme, without exception. Men who are drawn to such movies might want to do a gut check. Is there something you regret? Something you wish you had achieved, but didn't yet? Something you believe you might still achieve, given another shot at it? Or have you already claimed your second chance and triumphed? I believe I did...
In 1994 my career was at it's last stop. At the tender young age of 24, I was completely burnt out of the work I had been doing since I was 10 years old. I was a self-employed cabinet maker and I had given everything, sacrificed a great deal and in the end, came up short. In 1994 I decided to do something completely different and so I moved to Turkey to see try something new. I swore up and down that I was done with the woodworking business, with cabinet making. Upon returning from Turkey a year later, I ate my words, but resigned myself to being just a cabinet maker- punching a clock at a millwork company for $10 an hour. No designs of ever making more than a living wage. After all, I quit college to learn this trade, to help with the family business. I had no other marketable skills or training, besides woodworking.
Needless to say, I stuck with it, I persevered, I stayed the course, believing that maybe one day, my loyalty to this trade might pay off, might reward me handsomely down the road. I even went into business for myself again, briefly and miserably. In 1996 I found myself in yet another dead end. No money, unemployed, ineligible for unemployment benefits, losing the first house I ever bought....cursing the day I ever quit college for this lousy trade...
Then, out of nowhere, like a miracle, I am hired for the position of project manager- not on the shop floor- but up front in the office... My past experience, I suddenly discovered, had value after all. Just 2 or 3 months into this gig, I get miracle phone call number two- a company in Connecticut would like to hire me for DOUBLE what I was being paid. From here, you can figure out the rest of the story. Since that time, my compensation has doubled again, giving me and my family a very comfortably blessed lifestyle. I'll give myself credit for 'sticking to what I knew' to make a living, but undeniably, nothing would have been possible if a few second chances didn't come my way.
Are there other second chances on the horizon? Some unfinished business that needs a catalyst to set it in motion? I resolve to always be on the look-out for them, this much is certain.