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Patience

Agriculture.com Staff 02/12/2007 @ 7:22am

I don't believe in patience.

Seriously. I think it's way overrated.

Don't get me wrong -- I believe in endurance, perseverance, determination, resolve -- all that stuff. Just not patience. I've never understood why, when you think something is a good idea, you'd wait longer than 15 seconds before you start making it come true.

Lately, I've had a run of conversations with people who don't seem to understand that life is short. Life is short, nothing is for sure, and wasting time is a sin, because nobody knows how much time they have. The sun's gonna come up today and THAT'S ALL THE GUARANTEE YOU GET!!!

Whew. There, I got that off my chest. Sounds a little grumpy, I suppose, but a man can only stand so much.

I believe that most real accomplishments in this world are the work of impatient people. I can't ever remember sitting in a meeting and, no matter what my exterior was saying, not having my interior screaming, "Come on! Let's get something done here!"

Given this subject, one of my favorite poets is Langston Hughes -- ever since I read his poem "Harlem."

That's one of the great things about poetry. Here I am, a bald Norwegian farmer, living on the prairies of western Minnesota. What, exactly, could I have in common with a great African-American poet or his poem titled "Harlem?" Well, the first line is "What happens to a dream deferred?"

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not comparing historic African-American struggles against oppression with my inability to be voted People magazine's "Sexiest Man in America" or even my crusade to get wireless internet throughout the county. But the size of the dream isn't what matters. If it doesn't come true, if you don't make it come true, what happens next? Take a look at what comes next in the poem.

"Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore --
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?"

Dreams matter. The problem is, people put the connotation of impracticality on dreams. Even the word "dreamer" carries a hint of impracticality and in my part of the world it is very seldom a compliment, but without dreamers there is no progress. What we need are impatient dreamers, dreamers willing to work to make the dreams come true. Because, the end of the poem reads:

"Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?"

It's tragic when a dream deferred ends in an explosion of frustration. We see examples of it around the world and it's the sort of thing that makes the news, but it's even sadder when the dream sags and droops, like an overloaded wagon. When you stop dreaming and live out your days doing only as much as you've did the day before, your prevailing emotion a buried mild regret of what might have been, like a small mouse gnawing away in the pit of your stomach, causing just enough pain that the "woulda, coulda, shouldas" never quite disappear.

Do you get it? Dreams don't come true, you make them come true with effort and planning, commitment and resolve.

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