By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
I was personally connected to each individual and of the thirty plus souls in the room there were three experiencing a second chance at life. This was my thought after hearing from the speaker, a local attorney that specialized in family and elder law. He had spoken to us about making preparation for our demise and leaving our family without the burden of sorting our business out. He spoke of Wills, Trust, Power of Attorney and Living Wills. HE had spoken to us two years prior and within those two short years three of the thirty had experienced close encounters with death. Each individual had his own story.
The first gentleman had an automobile accident. While waiting for the rescue flight to come his thoughts went back to this attorney he had heard only three months earlier. He had every intention to take care of those matters but had yet to do so. It took him over a year to recover. When he was able he used his second chance to take care of those matters.
The others two gentlemen followed the first line of thinking when they were diagnosed with cancer. The first was younger than the gentleman in the auto accident and was found to have a type cancer usually found in men much older. After treatment at the University of Texas M.D.Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX, he is cancer free today and living a full life.
The third gentleman was much older than the others and was found to have one of the rarest forms of cancer. He was told only 6 in a million suffer this form on cancer. He too was treated at M.D.Anderson and in spite of the battle is today cancer free.
Second chances can come in all forms. Second chances after a near death experience like the three gentlemen mentioned above are most easily recognized. But there are others as well. There are financial second chances, second chances in our relationships and second chances in our careers. Those that have suffered catastrophic loss after a natural disaster have a second chance to rebuild, repair and recover their lives. But these second chances come only if we recognize them as such.
West, TX is the town that was devastated by the fertilizer plant explosion on April 17th, 2013. I traveled through there a few weeks after the explosion. There were blocks and blocks of homes churches and schools destroyed by the explosion. I recently had the opportunity to retrace my trip to that devastated area and I was amazed at the rebuilding that had been done. The people of West saw the opportunity as a second chance for an even better West TX and took it.
As you write you will meet with things that seem devastating. You may feel an editor has destroyed your work. An agent may return a query letter without constructive or encouraging words. You may be disappointed with your published books overall acceptance. Although this may be a part of a writer’s life you may feel it to be life threatening to your career. I will not tell you how you should feel but I will say you could look at this as a second chance. Step back, evaluate, seek advice and continue on. Second chances will come but only to those who recognize them. Yours may be right in front of you.