Imagine if you could have a second chance at life? A chance to go back and change the mistakes you made or the path you chose. Would you do it? Would there be things you would want to change which may change the outcome of your life now?
*A couple of spoilers in this post
In the movie “About Time“, 21-year-old Tim finds out that he could do exactly that. He could choose any part of his own history and travel back to that very moment and have a second chance of what was to follow. He is a time traveller.
It sounds quite appealing to me. As I am sure we have all had moments that we would have liked to of changed, awkward situations, decisions we have made that we wished we hadn’t. We all like the idea of second chances. An opportunity to do things again, to have another go at life.
Tim travels back to moments which would allow him to eventually get a girlfriend. With some bumps on the way, we find ourselves in humourous moments where he makes lots of mistakes but then goes back and changes them. He also finds out that there are some things he can’t change.
In the film Another Earth, Rhoda does something that changes the course of her life forever. She makes a huge mistake which destroys her life and the life of a young family. Just before that point, another planet is seen in the sky, which is the exact replica of earth – with the same people and same events that have happened before. It’s a mirror image. Except on that planet the course of history changes when it comes into view on the current earth, which means Rhoda on this new planet has made a different choice that day and therefore there was a different outcome.
Lives not destroyed. A second chance.
As the news commentator says:
“But maybe the most mysterious of all is neither the small nor the large: it’s us, up close. Could we even recognize ourselves, and if we did, would we know ourselves? What would we say to ourselves? What would we learn from ourselves? What would we really like to see if we could stand outside ourselves and look at us?”
Rhoda longs for a second chance. Could she really find it by looking at herself and find peace in knowing that her other self-made a better decision? I think Rhoda realises that her second chance doesn’t come from looking at her alternative self, but instead she needs forgiveness for what she has done. It is only when the Janitor writes on her hand “Forgiven” that she finds true peace.
I think Another Earth illustrates the overwhelming need of grace that humanity craves. Second chances are about forgiveness not about time travel.
We may wish for time travel, to have a second chance to change our lives and we may long to see what that life would look like if everything had been different. But that never solves the heart problem. It may cover up the mistakes we made and we may appear glossy or it spirals us unto a depression of “what if’s”.
The level of our problem plunges deeper into our hearts that go beyond the choices we make.
Outside of ourselves is a God who became human to give all of us a second chance. He beckons us all to start afresh and to receive true forgiveness that dives into the inner most depths of our hearts and cleans out all the mess. Time Travel cannot do that, neither can anything else in this world.
And what does that look like?
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26
New heart and a new spirit. That heart riddled with guilt and yearning for a second chance, gets replaced with a new heart, a new life, a new spirit and a second chance. And this gospel spills out over every mistake we make or will make. This is the beauty of the cross, the mountain of second chances.
It doesn’t mean we forget what we have done, but we are forgiven and we can learn from our mistakes instead of covering them up. The good news is that our second chance doesn’t come through wishful thinking about time travel, but it comes through Jesus Christ.
Come to him and find a new heart and forgiveness that will quench your thirst. Then you can truly enjoy your day, without any worries.
“The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.” – About Time