Tuesday, September 25, 2007


In golf they call it a "mulligan", but I refer to them as "do overs". There's probably not a single person out there that hasn't wished for a "do over" sometime in their life. I have. In fact, I wish for them all the time. Sometimes I wish I had a "do over" when I make a mistake as a parent...when I let an opportunity pass me by...when I don't have the courage to share how I feel...when I don't react to a situation in a way that I am proud of.

Although l have often wished for "do overs", I have always lived with the knowledge that sometimes...most of the time...they are not possible. I live with the regret. Opportunities pass us by. Words stay in our memories. People move on. Some mistakes cannot be undone. These transgressions can be forgiven, but they cannot ever be totally erased. That's what I think of when I think of a "do over"...the ability to expunge the mistake from my record...erase the poor score...make it all disappear...like it never happened.

I learned a valuable lesson recently. I behaved in a way that I wasn't proud of. I didn't do anything mean or wrong or on purpose. I was overcome with emotion and I ended a situation in a way that left me disappointed...regretful...uncomfortable. As I drove away, all I could think about was how bad I wanted a "do over"; another chance with a different ending...a happy ending. As I wiped my tears and wallowed in my misery and regret, something occurred to me...a thought...an option...a possibility.

I asked. I swallowed my pride and I took a risk. I asked for a second chance. I decided to take charge and do what I could to create a different outcome...a better outcome...an outcome that I could feel good about at the end of the day. I was surprised to find that it wasn't so bad...so hard...so impossible. I got a "do over" of sorts. I realized that most of the time, we can't get a "do over", because we don't ask for one. There are obviously exceptions to every rule. Some things can never be repaired or undone, but many things can...if we ask...if we try.

I was blessed with redemption. My friend gave me a second chance; a "do over"; an opportunity to leave him on a better note...with dignity...with pride...with a sense of relief...a full stomach...and a smile on his face and mine. He thought it was just another goodbye; an apology of sorts, but it was more. It was an epiphany...a revelation...a renewed sense of hope. I'm never going to wish for a "do over" again. I'm going to try. I'm going to ask. I'm going to redo the things that are not right. I'm going to try not to make the same mistake twice. I'm going to start again...as many times as it takes. I'm going to rewrite the ending to my story. I'm going to scratch my poor score and take my mulligan. I'm going to reopen the book and straighten the pages...reset the video game...and allow myself as many "do overs" as I need to soothe the pain, chase away the regret, and enjoy the peace I find therein.

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