A Second Chance at a Better Future
When I look at my brother, I am filled with a sense of awe and wonder. This year was his first year in college and he not only survived but also flourished. I look at his smile and I find myself almost unable to remember two years ago when it seemed possible that he would not survive until the end of the year. I see him laughing, joking with his friends, and dancing like a lunatic, and I can almost forget two years ago when I was afraid to even speak to him. The memories of the visits to court and psychiatric hospitals are fading, and the expressions of rage and hate that once filled his face are hard to imagine. I can almost forget these things, but I know I will never completely forget.
Two years ago, I stopped trusting my older brother when he turned to drugs and alcohol to solve his problems. I stopped trusting him when he stopped smiling and hid suicide notes under his bed. I stopped trusting him when he used violence and anger against his family who was only trying to help him. He had strayed so far into darkness that I felt he would never find his way back. But he did. My parents sent my brother to a program for troubled teens in the woods in Virginia and then to a therapeutic boarding school that taught him the value of life. He found his way back and has begun the long and difficult task of repairing the trusts that he shattered years ago.
Personally, I thought I would never be able to trust him again. I thought that every time I looked at him I would still see the lies and depression that had consumed him in high school. But I am starting to realize that I was wrong. Finally, I do not feel fear or shame when I look at my brother. I only feel love and pride.
I believe in second chances because, without a second chance, my brother might not be laughing with me today. Without the second chance of a happy life with his family, my brother would not have had the hope needed to pull him out of his fatal depression and make him smile again. That second chance saved his life and also the lives of the people who loved him most. I know he faces a rough road ahead of him, but I now have hope that he will not throw away his life as easily as he did the first time. I’m giving my brother another chance to earn my trust because if I don’t, I might regret it for the rest of my life, knowing how much I could’ve loved and lived with him. I believe in second chances because I love my brother and I love the hope I now have for his second chance at a future.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.