If you were to ask people about a particular location or event, you would often be greeted by at least one person who doesn’t like it. This can include a restaurant, a store, or possibly even a Church event. Every time I encounter someone who doesn’t enjoy that thing, I always brace myself for a story. The reason they do not care for it is that that one time they went and a waiter was rude, the food was cold, the crowd was too big, the people unfriendly, and a host of other dreadful stories. The interesting thing to me is that frequently it happened years ago. Tales of the failures of others usually have no time limit. Case in point, my dad, refused to go to the nearby Pizza Hut for over 30 years because of a lousy waitress one night.
People, including me, latch onto these stories and allow them to be the basis for all future action. I hear things like, “I am not going to that Church, they are an unfriendly lot. I attended there some years ago, and no one even spoke to me.” Other encounters include, “I am not going back to that business. I once waited there for an hour for anyone to even notice me.” The stories continue, “I will never go to (fill in the blank) because one time the worker was rude with me.” How about this, “I will never speak to them again, one time I tried to have a conversation, and they ignored me and made me feel small.” We have our story, and it solidifies our thinking, and we never seem to revisit it.
My challenge today is to rethink my convictions about things, place, and even people. Are you going to let one story from some time ago still define your actions? Maybe that person was having a bad day. Perhaps you were caught in an ugly situation that happens only once a year. You never know the back story to the incident that molded your views. I once had a lady visit our Church, and she hated it. A year later she came back after the pleading of a friend, and she loved it. Unfortunately, a series of events made her first visit unpleasant, but the exact opposite happened the second time. She just had to come back one more time.
What would happen if today you decided to write a new story? What if you visited that store again or went to that restaurant, or maybe even gave that person a second chance? Most of the time, people find their second experience totally different than the first. Circumstances change, and our encounter is better than we expected.
What if today you let go of that old story about how awful everything was and embraced a new story? Sometimes people and places need a second chance.