Patience (noun) : The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
This is something I struggle with constantly. I often wonder where and what caused my propensity to be impatient. Did it start when I was a child and wanted a toy or as a teenager some new Air Jordan’s and having to hear my mother say to me “when you grow up and get a job you can buy yourself those shoes or whatever you want”. Or did it begin when I was promised something I had earned only to never be rewarded? Whatever the cause, it has built an internal clock in my mind that is constantly ticking. Problem is there is no deadline.
There is no deadline on accomplishing dreams or goals. Sure there are a few exceptions. I’m not going to be a professional basketball player like I wanted to be when I was seven. It’s true that some women will not be able to biologically have children after a certain age. But these are the exceptions. If you want to change careers and be a doctor or lawyer after the age of 30, you can with the proper education and training. Same thing if you want to be an author, filmmaker, teacher, semi truck driver, reporter, singer or actor. There is no age limit on these dreams; therefore there is no deadline or ticking clock. They are still obtainable; it just takes patience. Patience. Patience. PATIENCE!
As I write this it serves as a constant reminder to myself to exude some patience. I have dreams. I want to sell books, write screenplays and make documentaries. I have planted the seeds and laid the groundwork. I still get annoyed from time to time when I go out to my “garden” and my fruit has not flourished how I would have hoped and imagined. But I need only to look into my not so distant past to help give me peace to be still.
In 1998 I was a senior in high school. I was finally selected to play on the varsity team after two solid years of Junior Varsity ball and dressing and playing well in two varsity games as a junior. After working on my game all day everyday in the summer before my last year, I knew a prominent spot in the rotation on varsity would be mine. It wasn’t to be. I spent a large chunk of that season on the bench and constantly being overlooked by my head coach. To make matters worse he did some shady stuff that proved he made it personal. There is no point in going into detail because I chalked that up to being the “enemy” standing in the way of my dreams. As I’m about to show you I overcame that challenge. I contemplated quitting several times. Even some of my teammates tried to encourage me to quit, saying if they were in my shoes they would. It wasn’t until near the end of that season that I saw significant action. An injury occurred and he had no choice but to put me in the games. What followed was a very productive 7 games out of me, which culminated with a trip to the district championship game. Something none of us on the team had done in our career. It was an exciting time at our school. Although we lost in the championship game, everything to follow was all right. Personally I won Most Improved Player. How? I still have no idea. If 7 games were enough to prove I made significant strides, then oh well. I just used it to rebuild my confidence from the crushing blow of not really being apart of the team in my senior year. Then I used it as motivation. I figured if I could make that kind of impression after 7 games, what could I do if I was given the opportunity for an entire season. I focused my summer before my freshman year of college towards making sure I made the varsity team at The Ohio State University at Newark. I worked out on the court in my driveway rain or shine. Here’s where patience had its perfect work. I made the team my freshman year. My First scrimmage I scored 30 points. I was the 6th man for the first 15 games of the season. Then at a Christmas tournament, I got a chance to start. The result was 20 points, 13 rebounds. I started the rest of my career. Scored over 18 hundred points, grabbed over a thousand rebounds, set several school records and won countless awards. Five years after my disappointing senior season (I sat out what would have been my junior season) my number 33 jersey was retired.
To sweeten things, the ceremony was 3 days after I received my bachelor’s degree. Honestly it didn’t even take the whole five years for my patience to be rewarded. I was blessed with opportunities less than a half a year from those disappointing times my senior year of high school. Even though I dreamed of playing professional basketball and even had a few opportunities, I never thought my jersey would ever be retired.
I never thought I could have a legacy like that. When I look at that jersey I don’t just think about basketball, I think about my drive. My determination. My persistence. My patience. All of that is why I accomplished that. I can use those memories for the rest of my life to get me through.
That’s just one of the examples I can give you of how my patience in chasing a dream was rewarded. I share my story with you to not only encourage and inspire you, but to remind myself that everything that has meant anything in my life came with patience. Just do as I have done and look back on your past triumphs. I’m sure in those moments you can see where your patience paid off and ended with something so great in your life you could never imagine being where you are now without them or it. There is no ticking clock. There is no deadline. There is only one clock and none of us have any way of knowing when it runs out. Only God knows that. As long as you’re breathing, there is still time to accomplish your dreams and goals.
“By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.” Luke 21:19
“But if we wait for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.” Romans 8:25