By Peggy Bird, author of Beginning Again and Loving Again
We Americans love the idea of redemption. You can be forgiven if you think it’s imbedded in the U.S. Constitution, although it’s not. I looked.
Just consider our track record with political figures: Bill Clinton has gone from letch to charming elder statesman. Jimmy Carter moved from being a figure of ridicule to becoming not only an expert on lending a helping hand but the world’s conscience on elections. Even Richard Nixon had some measure of rehabilitation before he died on the basis of his foreign relations coup of opening relations with China.
And movie stars. The number of actors who have spent early paychecks on drugs and the lawyers who extricated them from the jams drugs got them into, only to rebound years later to star in huge blockbuster movies is legion. (The first one that comes to my mind is Robert Downey, Jr. but you can fill in the name of your favorite sinner.)
I’ve always imagined this attitude has its origins in what was, for many of our ancestors, the reason they came here—to find a second chance. At least that’s why I think my great-grandparents emigrated. They wanted something better for themselves and their kids than the hand they’d been dealt in Europe. They wanted a do-over. And they got it here.
I’m not immune to this impulse. Maybe it’s because I found my happily-ever-after in a second marriage. Maybe it’s because I’ve had (*mumbling behind hand because she’s embarrassed by the actual number*) different careers. But I’m the one in every group who thinks if we just had another chance, we could make it work out. Whatever “it” is.
This conviction not only shows up in my life but in my writing. I’m almost finished writing six books I’ve called the Second Chances Series. In each of the books, one or both of the lovers is coming into the relationship with something in the past that stands in the way of making that special connection with someone they love.
For example, in the second book in the series, Loving Again, which released this week as an ebook, Portland police detective Sam Richardson is divorced with joint custody of his two sons. He’s got a job that absorbs most of his time and attention and two sons he adores who take up whatever time he has left. He’s not sure there’s room for another relationship. Then he meets glass artist Amanda St. Claire. She’s coming out of a wreck of a relationship that ended when her boyfriend was killed and she was arrested for his murder.
Sam and Amanda brave it. They grab at the brass ring one more time and take that second chance. Even with everything I threw at them to stand in their way, in the end, they get to happily-ever-after. Just like I knew they would.
How about you? Have you had a second chance at a relationship, a job, a career that worked out? Share your experience in the comments.