I played one of the best chess games of my life today.
It's been years since I've played. I felt rusty. But I quickly noticed something as the game got going: I don't play chess like I used to. My game is different. I'm different.
I know that ministering in South Florida has changed me. But I saw two interesting facets of this change during today's chess match.
I'm more aggressive
I used to be a timid chess player. I would protect my pieces and let the other players take the initiative. I would wear people down, playing safely until they made a mistake. Defensive chess.
But today I was more aggressive. I didn't just protect my pieces. I attacked. I took control of the center of the board. I sacrificed pieces. I didn't just move my pieces, I made my opponent move his pieces.
I'm less afraid of losing. I've had so much practice in South Florida. Failure is no longer a spectre on the horizon, a shadow and a threat. Surviving made me more willing to take risks. This doesn't happen to everyone when they encounter failure, but it has happened to me.
I'm more patient
I used to respond quickly to threats on the chessboard. Attack one of my pieces and I would scurry away. I learned how to fight on the run. And yet, give me an opening and I would jump in, sometimes haphazardly.
But today I was more patient. At one point, I knew my opponent would have me checkmated in 3 moves, but I didn't panic. I continued to press him patiently and his checkmate never quite came together. For most of the match I was two or three moves away from losing. I could have pulled my pieces from the center of the board and put up a defense, but taking my time and continuing my attack in a measured way paid off.
I've learned the benefit of waiting in line. South Florida is a mission field that rewards the patient. There's something beautiful about committing to something that will take time to develop. The quick stuff is easy and has already been done. All the low-hanging fruit has been picked. But the best stuff is at the top ... harder to reach, but worth the work and the wait.
Life is full of moments like these. You round a corner and get back a section of the track that you've covered on a previous lap. These moments show you how you've changed. Do you pay attention to them?