When I was a kid I took bowling lessons. Yes, bowling lessons. We moved the Summer before my 8th grade year to Lawrence, Kansas and school was already out of session. And, we were in a new neighborhood with only a handful of kids to play with, so we wound up taking bowling lessons and joining a league. I LOVED it! At the end of the Summer we got our own ball and bag. Over the years I have bowled from time to time, but not like that Summer.
You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, and I have two stories to share that speak to the lesson I've re-learned this summer.
PROGRESS TAKES TIME.
In April I was asked if I'd like to join a bowling team and play in a league. I knew I was rusty but figured it would all come back in time. Little did I know what was coming. *grin*
The first night I bowled 52 and wondered why I agreed to play. *grin* I have more pounds on my body and have to think about balance more now than I did then.
Over the Summer we played 3 games every Thursday night. With the exception of camp, I was present each week. Over the summer my average has gone up to 71. We end the Season this coming Thursday. I have had one high game of 117.
Each week I made more friends and improved a little bit.
It's been fun and we are going to do a fall/spring league too. *grin*
You're thinking, okayyyyyyy that's cool but what else have you got? *grin*
Three years ago in May I agreed to kid-sit a boy with Autism one afternoon per week. I had a connection with the kid, and thought it would be fun. The first day he came to my house, he didn't want to leave his car because of my dog, Jay. I didn't understand why anyone would be scared of Jay. Little did I know that it was the beginning of an adventure.
When I say he was scared of Jay, I mean, he didn't want to be on the floor when Jay was in the same room. He was worried Jay would bite him. He would go into full meltdown if he even suspected Jay was near him. When I moved into my apartment he had to be on the kitchen table because that was the only way he felt safe.
Over the past three years, we've talked about his fear of Jay from time to time, but I didn't push. I just felt like it would happen in time. I even wondered if it would ever happen because of how big his emotions are around dogs. Then today happened. *grin*
Today we got here and we did our usual routine. I looked at him and said, "What are you going to do when you're too big for the table." He said something like, "You're going to teach me how to not be scared anymore." I paused when he said it, but didn't make a big deal out of it. On one hand, he had never said that before. On the other hand, if I made it a thing it may not happen.
So, he spent the afternoon on the table. Jay did his usual thing, and honestly could have cared less that someone else was here in the apartment. He comes and goes from my lap all the time and it wasn't a thing at all.
About 5pm my friend with Autism said he wanted to go. I said okay and was about to get up and put shoes on and my friend asked me to hold Jay on the floor. I did it, not expecting much. I've never seen anyone as scared as this young man was around Jay. So I thought I'd take what I could get. What happened next is what I'll always remember.
My friend had me hold Jay by the collar while he put his shoes on. Then, he wanted to pet Jay. So, we did that for a little while and then he said to let Jay be free. I was so excited I wanted to scream, but I played it cool. Eventually he had me move the kitchen table and was fine with Jay being free without me holding him. I even had to use the restroom and offered to put Jay outside while I did that, and my friend said to leave him in the living room. So, while I was in the restroom privately doing my business, Jay was with my friend and both of them did GREAT!
I can't tell you how much fun it was to see the young man smile and say he was being "brave". *grin*
Three years it took for us to get here, with boy and dog as friends and fear was eliminated. *grin*
I think so often we want progress to happen NOW. And yes, God can do miracles in a moment. I've seen it. In my own life though, progress has taken time.
I watched a kid conquer his fear of dogs today and this Summer I've gotten better at a sport I am loving again.
Progress takes time and that's okay.
We live in a culture where we want things immediately. But, progress takes time and that's okay.
Whether you're getting better at a sport, facing a fear, or something else, I hope this inspires you.
Take your time, sometimes the greatest lessons are in the process that it takes to get there. *grin*
For now, I'll smile at the victory the young man had today.
So if you're striving for something, don't lose heart. Give it time, you'll get there.