A Lesson In Patience From The Grit and Grind City
We've all heard how Millennials are supposedly so impatient. Impatient to find a good job, impatient to hear the latest news, or just impatient to receive what's "due" them. Oh yeah, Millennials supposedly also feel much more entitled than everyone else. Now, I definitely don't want to go into the crazy generalizations that are made today about nearly every generation by others pitted against them (I recently found out that technically I'm Gen Z, not a Millennial). I do, however, think that impatience is something worth talking about. Because I think we're all guilty of it, regardless of age.
And now, we wait
In life, there's always something we're waiting for. When you're young, you wait for school to be over, or for friends to come and play. College students wait for breaks and graduation (and for loans to drop). Then there's waiting for the perfect job (or more realistically, any job at all will do). Then waiting to pay off loans, to buy something, to take a trip, a vacation, a better job. Sometimes it feels like all we do is wait for the next thing, and in that way I think we all are guilty of impatience. But impatience isn't just a discomfort with waiting; it's also a sign of discontentment.
There's a special level of patience you have to achieve in Memphis. The motto of the Memphis Grizzlies is "Grit and Grind", a slogan that well encompasses the broader spirit of this city. In a city branded with a violent reputation, it's difficult to keep moving forward while being underestimated and underappreciated.
Memphis is redefining itself, building, growing, and taking major steps to reach its potential...however slowly. Memphians have to wait for major city strides (in some cases, over 20 years), for the iconic trolleys to return, for historic buildings to be renovated, and so much more. The only thing to encourage patience is the knowledge that Memphis may be slow moving, but it refuses to grind to a halt.
Don't just wait. Watch.
Discontentment brews as soon as we get caught up in impatience and forget to be still in the present moment. Instead of complaining that the trolleys still aren't back, I've learned to stop next to the tracks and appreciate the work that's being done now in preparation for their return. Instead of waiting impatiently for a new downtown theater, we walk by every few days to see the progress and notice every small step. The city is beautiful now, even before the improvements that are to come. If I don't really take in every scene on my long walks, including the empty or abandoned spaces, how well will I appreciate the fullness that I know can happen in the future?
Let's really be present in every moment we can, and live out intentionally where we are now. Impatience can't take hold of us if we're really content with life before the next "big thing". And when we are, those big moments ahead will just mean that much more than if we didn't experience those times of slowly grinding ahead.