Forrest Gump showed patience throughout his life
He displayed it as a little boy and he demonstrated it as a grown man. The examples of his patience are numerous.
What is patience? The dictionary defines patience as bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
Forrest Gump certainly had his fair share of being provoked and experiencing misfortune, delay, hardship, and pain … both physical and emotional. He handled those incidents with fortitude and calm, displaying an even temper and cool composure. He didn’t complain and rarely showed anger.
Are you a patient person?
Let’s look at a few examples of how Forrest endured with forbearance, and see how we can learn patience from his model.
Provocation. As a boy Forrest was often provoked by others. They threw rocks and called him names. What did Forrest do? He ran away as Jenny encouraged with shouts of “Run, Forrest Run!” When seeking patience, consider that not fighting is an option when you’re provoked, just as fighting would be another option. You have no control over the provoker … but you do have 100% control over your own reaction. Do you remember any times when over-reacting proved beneficial? Walking away (or running in Forrest’s case) is more often the wiser (and calmer) option when provoked.
Misfortune. Do you remember when Forrest was running across America and the truck splashed mud in his face? It was simply a misfortunate accident. What did Forrest do? He accepted the t-shirt from the man running alongside him, wiped his face and said, “Have a nice day”. Of course it’s a humorous scene as the smiley face is created on the muddy t-shirt, but it is also a great reminder of how calm and pleasant Forrest’s character truly is. How do you react when everyday misfortune strikes? Are you calm? Do you over-react? Do you yell, scream and curse? Next time you get splashed with mud try being more Gump-like and act with Gumption. Accept the reality, wipe yourself off, and let it go!
Delay. We all want things now. We’ve become a society accustomed to instant gratification, where it feels as though delay is not acceptable. If a web page doesn’t load within 2 or 3 seconds we move on. I can think of no greater example of Forrest’s patience than the delay in his friendship and love for Jenny. It took Jenny almost her entire life to fully return the friendship and love that Forrest offered her. What is so important to you that you’d be willing to wait a lifetime? Have you considered that some things are more important than right now? Have the best things in your life come instantly?
Hardship. As a little boy growing up in a single-parent household in rural Alabama, Forrest knew hardship. He wore braces on his legs, the other children scorned him, he was destined to attend a special school, and his father was on a permanent vacation according to Momma. But Forrest and his mother made the best of things. She showed an unwavering commitment to him and he responded with grit, integrity and good cheer. NEWSFLASH! Life is hard. You have to work hard to prosper. Doing so without complaint will help you prosper and it will certainly make you more pleasant to be around in the process.? Do you enjoy being with others who complain frequently?
Pain (Physical). When Forrest was shot in the buttocks he surely experienced physical pain, but it didn’t stop him from running through that pain to rescue Lt. Dan and Bubba and others from his platoon. In fact, when relaying the story of that incident, he scarcely focused on the mention of the bullet wound at all. He didn’t complain while convalescing in the army hospital; during that time he showed concern for others (e.g. bringing Lt. Dan ice cream) and even tried new experiences (e.g. learned to play ping-pong). It’s the classic example of finding a silver lining in a cloud. Complaining with an agitated mindset is not conducive to finding the good in a situation.
Pain (Emotional). How about the emotional pain Forrest must have felt when all of the letters he wrote to Jenny were returned as undeliverable? Many people would use such a disheartening experience as an excuse to give up. Or lash out. We all experience emotional pain regularly.? Have you ever felt disappointed by your loved ones? Or bypassed for promotion or a new assignment at work? Remembering that there are things we can control and things we can’t control will frequently allow us to let go of emotional pain. Forrest couldn’t control the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to locate the gypsy Jenny. Forrest did control is own emotions, and after an initial disappointment he moved on and refocused his energy.
Forrest Gump showed an amazing ability to be patient. The result of that patience was always good-fortune.
Again, let’s acknowledge that it’s a Hollywood movie and fictitious character … but the paragons created for us in book and film often do exemplify the character traits we should look up to and emulate. And while we all know that rage, violence and frenzied behaviors are acts of failure, don’t you also know, deep down inside, that patience is a precursor to success?
Next Blog Title: Fishing where the Fishermen Fish
Next Blog Date: July 15, 2010