Peyton and the Highest Form of Patience

Peyton and the Highest Form of Patience

This week’s inspiration comes from one of my favorite pastimes, watching football.

My pastor father considered football part of his regular Sunday routine right after Sunday school, church, and Mom’s signature pot roast dinner, simmered to perfection while we were at church. The smell of the tender roast and its accompanying carrots, onions, and potatoes, would welcome us as soon as we opened the back door.

Once nourished and out of our Sunday best, our family of five would plunk down in front of the TV in the family room where the couch was reserved for Dad. He would watch at least the first half of the game, instructing his three youngsters on some aspect of football that he thought we needed to learn.

This football education began in the ’60s until, well, I can’t remember a time when Dad wasn’t pointing out some gridiron lesson. We learned about “I” formations, “T” formations, quarterback sneaks, onside kicks, screen passes, draw plays, audibles, shot-gun snaps, blitzes, hurry-up offenses, and Hail Marys. And yes, we knew about “the blindside” long before the movie came out.

You name it; Dad knew how to explain it.

Then around the middle of the third quarter, he’d say, “Got to stretch out, kids.” And he would, unfolding his six-foot-three frame onto the full length of the couch. He’d take off his glasses, jam a couple pillows beneath his head, and thank us for covering him with a blanket. He would drift in and out of a much-deserved nap, always awakening just in time to see the end of the fourth quarter and final score.

So yes, I love football—both the sport and the memories of learning its lessons.

And what have I learned lately?

Although my allegiance is not to the Denver Broncos, I must admit I have a lot of respect for Peyton Manning and his family. In his interview after the Broncos win over the Steelers on Sunday, a reporter asked him about his success. I was struck by Peyton’s reply:

“I think the best thing we did was we stayed patient all game. We didn’t force anything, we didn’t give anything away.”

I had to agree. This game felt more like a chess match rather than the thug fest I had witnessed the week before when the Bengals “played” (read, assaulted) the Steelers.

Still, it was odd to hear patience lauded so highly. It reminded me of my new favorite way to describe patience, borrowed from ancient Chinese wisdom. Although I can’t find the exact source, the idea is this:

The highest form of patience is putting the brakes on strength.

Love that!

Often we are capable of far greater strength, but it is prudent to put the brakes on and manage the situation wisely.

It certainly worked for Peyton on Sunday. Could it work for me?

For sure, I feel I’ve been extraordinarily patient with a physician’s office that has yet to call me back for an initial appointment. I have followed their protocol through three layers of recorded options, left two messages, and even had the referring doctor’s office to contact them directly.

Still, no response.

For those who know me, I’m sure you’ll agree that I can be pretty persistent, even relentless. I guess in a sense I have put the brakes on that strength, trying my best to let this unfold.

However, I’m not sure how long I can maintain this “highest form of patience.” I may have to resort to the approach of my father, admittedly not a very patient man.

“I have plenty of patience,” he’d say if anyone ever suggested he needed more of it. “You’ve just used up your allotment.”

So I’m allotting two more days before I release the brakes and unleash my plan of persistence. Since the new doc’s office is not far from my home, I may just show up and wait until I can have a face-to-face with the dear soul who won’t call me back.

How about you? Have you experienced this highest form of patience, braking on a strength? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best—always,

Becky  (Nana B)

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