When It Comes To Second Chances (Are They ‘Gone With the Wind’?)


The theater is now called “AFI (American Film Institute) Silver Theatre and Cultural Center” and it is located just blocks outside the Nation’s Capital in Silver Spring, Maryland. It has been restored to its original 1938 condition and it is now one of the areas shining stars. It is a cultural center dedicated to artists, educators, and audiences of the world. But back in the fall of 1972, it was just a movie house to me. It was there that my date and I sat through one of the longest and most boring movies I have ever seen in my life. I mean the film lasted three hours and forty-two minutes. They had to have an intermission for fear that some of the audience members would commit suicide! Do you know how tough it is for a sixteen year old boy to maintain a meaningful dialogue with a girl for almost four hours! I can still recall the big screen showing the words “Intermission” on it. “Intermission!”, I remember thinking, “I thought this movie was over!”. Alas, by the time the movie came to an end, Rhett Butler’s famous final words of “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”, was the best way to describe how I felt about the entire experience of viewing “Gone with the Wind”.

So, there I was, peacefully watching TV the other night when I came upon a “special” that named the five favorite movies of all-time. It peaked my interest. What movie could it be that had won over the hearts of the people? Well, you guessed it, “Gone with the Wind” topped the list. I have read and seen these types of lists before, many times. And “Gone with the Wind” is always near or at the top. I can never understand it. I have had hundreds of opportunities to buy this “great” movie on sale, or watch it on TV. Each time I consider buying it or watching it I can’t get past my 1972 experience. So….my 1972 experience is what I use to gauge the worth of this movie. What a pity! I mean, could it be that when I was sixteen I just wasn’t mature enough to care about this movie? Could it be that at sixteen I didn’t “get” the movie? Or could it be that I was more interested in my date that night than the plot of an old movie made in 1939?

So, I made a vow the other night that I was going to give this “Gone with the Wind” another chance. Sometime this year I am going to watch this “classic” and see what all the fuss is about. Maybe I will find that it will be one of my all-time favorites! I’ll never know if I don’t give it a “second” chance.

Too often in life we have experiences that are less than desirable. For many people that “undesirable” is organized religion. Their youthful experiences are negative and they swear off religion because it was “boring” and they didn’t get anything out of it. They are unwilling to give religion another look. A look that is more seasoned. A second look that might produce a different outcome. They end up losing out on the joy that comes through the constant living of the principles as taught by Christ. Sometimes we are guilty of not giving things a “second” look, or people a “second” chance. And really, who among us would be saved lest the Lord gave us a “second” chance. The way of the Lord is that of giving “second” chances. Perhaps no other story illustrates the story of “second” chances better than the story of Jonah and the Whale. The Lord called him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Jonah refused the call and fled. The Lord had him swallowed up in the belly of the whale where he had time to think about the call he had rejected. In the belly of the whale Jonah got a “second” change to say “yes”, which he did. However, Jonah didn’t learn much from being given a second chance because he lamented to the Lord that he didn’t destroy the inhabitants of Nineveh. Why? Because they heeded his words and repented. The people of Nineveh had been given a “second” chance by the Lord, but not by Jonah. The fickleness of man are manifest so often when it comes to giving others a “second” chance.

All of us want second chances.  All of us need second chances in life. Let us be kind and forgiving of others. Don’t let giving others a second chance go by the wind.  And let’s not make ‘losing my religion’ (R.E.M.) permanent because of a pass experience in our life, that keeps us from sitting in the pews and enjoying inspiring stories from the scriptures that enlighten our minds, and enrich our souls.


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