The New Year and the Second Draft
When I was a kid, I had no patience for second drafts. I loved to write and I either loved what I wrote or threw it away. I was so confident in my initial pieces that I'd even write a false "first draft" to hand in to the teacher when we were required to show our work. It wasn't until I was finishing up high school and even more so when I was in college that I realized that when I went over an essay, story, or poem, making liberal use of red ink, crossing out paragraphs and stray commas and reworking repetitious phrases, the end result was inevitably improved.
Even though I made my peace with rewrites, I still find myself finishing an illustration and either consigning it to the virtual coal bin or posting it immediately. Oftentimes that leads to only noticing flaws at the same time as anyone else viewing my work.
But now we've just begun a new year with new opportunities for growth and change. Gradual growth tends to lead to more lasting change, and no better way to work on gradual growth than remembering that my first draft doesn't have to be my only one.
While davening on Rosh Hashanah, these words jumped out at me during וכל מאמינים:
"וכל מאמינים שהוא פתוחה ידו: הצופה לרשע וחפץ בהצדקו:
“And all believe that His Hand is open. He waits for the evildoer and desires that he be absolved.”
Hashem is waiting for us. He gives us this incredible ability to rework our first drafts, and our second, third, fourth, fifth… He is infinite and so is His patience with us. Yes, the year is young and well-intentioned plans may already be going off the rails. That’s no reason to toss it in the bin; trust me, your second draft will be better.
(Note to self: practice what you preach…)