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Always better the second time

I’m always better the second time. It doesn’t seem to matter what I’m doing. The second lap, second repetition, second draft, second kid (my first kid would tell you). I’m not on my second marriage, but we came to a breaking point and started again, so I’ll count that, too.

What is it about trying it again that helps us get it right-er?

I’d like to say it’s practice or experience or wisdom, but I’m not sure. It’s not a calculated thing. I don’t really intend for it to be different; I just do it. (Thanks Nike) And it’s better. Smoother, more coordinated, less hesitant. Anyone looking might call it competence. It doesn’t feel that way.

It just feels different, unintentionally. Because I have tried it again.

I think the difference is in me, not of me. Somehow the rehearsal has facilitated the change without my permission. Were I to have stopped with the first time around – the uncoordinated, painfully inept time – I would not get to know this. But the repetition brings out the better.

I wish that this continued with the third and the fourth. Wouldn’t that be nice? To automatically stair-step your way to capable, even professional? To have every step be the same height, mountable with the same effort, one after the other? I haven’t found it to work that way. I’ve found that only the second step is magical. The third and beyond require intention and focus. You have to be careful or you’ll trip. And fall back to step one.

Yep, that 6th, 7th or 20th rep I sweat over. Hard even to get me to put in the effort. But then, tomorrow, it’s just a bit easier. I get to start at a higher step. Maybe even a stool or on up the ladder a bit.

And starting from there, I step and perhaps stumble. Oops – awkward. Hope no one was looking. Then I step again. Better. Correction just demands I do it one more time. Not for the crowd. Not for the reward. Not to keep the peace. Not even to make me stronger. Just to get it right-er.

I am wondering how I might make everything into just two steps. Hard for me because I remember all the stepping that has gone before. The faltering attempts. I start with a whole lot of baggage steps.

God doesn’t. Oh, He could, but in His mercy He has chosen not to remember them. To Him, every step I take is a first step. Every step after is a choice. Up or down.

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