It was a promise 15 years in the making.
Dennis had heard me talk of childhood hours spent in the driveway, swishing and clanking, draining and bricking. Sometimes with friends or family. But mostly a quiet two-on-one game of Me, Myself, and I.
The calm of driveway half-court was just the solitude this otherwise-extrovert needed. I went there to drill my game. I went there to process my adolescence. I went there to be.
My folks had long since sold the driveway half-court (it went with the house) and Dennis and I were six months into happily ever after.
And so it was, on Christmas ’02, my husband gifted me a basketball net. Not a hoop. Not a rim or backboard. Not a pole.
Just a net.
The parking lot of our first apartment wasn’t basketball hoop material. The rest would come, but it would have to wait. For now, a net sufficed.
It was a promise of intention.
We finished our lease and moved in with friends for a year. It wasn’t our home to basketballify.
The following summer, we bought a home.
But the owners wouldn’t leave. Not right away, at least. It was a unique situation (one our realtor is probably STILL talking about at dinner parties) but we rented the house back to the home owners and we moved into the basement. Of our own house. We even became friends. As I said, it was a unique situation.
They moved out the week of Thanksgiving and we began the process of moving in. It was winter on the edge of a cornfield in Illinois. It would be many months before anyone would be shootin’ hoops.
The next summer, work took us across the country for ten weeks of summer. Then we were caught up in crunch time of the university cycle. Then it was winter again.
Winter brought promotions of sorts. Promotions and a relocation. Two days after we moved into our home, we left for another summer-long expedition. The hoop would have to wait.
Our jobs became all-consuming. The net got buried at the bottom of the pile.
Soon our thoughts turned to family. Thoughts became news. News became preparations. Preparations involved more purchases at Babies ‘R Us than Sports Authority. A baby entered our lives and talk of the net stopped. Sleepless nights and the new love in our home dominated conversations and thoughts.
We installed more things. No poles or backboards. Baby gates, childproof latches, outlet covers, corner guards, door locks. One kid became two and two became three. The idea of alone time in a driveway was laughable. No one broached the topic of a hoop.
Life brought more change. Over the next two years, we changed addresses four more times. The hoop could not find its timing.
The newest address – the eighth in the journey – had a glimmer of hope for hoop dreams. A built-in ground sleeve. For a basketball hoop. No pole. No boards. No rim. No net. It was begging for function.
Only problem – it belonged to yet another temporary dwelling. Within months, we aimed to move two more times before owning ground with which a hoop could make its home. The plan was still “not yet.”
Then MC Sports closed and with closures came percentage-off sales. And little boys with a newfound love of the game. Dad caved and came good on his promise at a most unexpected time.
Against better judgment, that ground sleeve was put to work. A pole, a backboard, a rim,…and a net bolted together to bring a promise towards fulfillment. After 15 years, the net became a basketball hoop.
In one short (rainy) week, those two ounces (among many) have already created more memories than I would’ve ever dreamed back in those teenage years on my driveway half-court.
This particular hoop may not be ours. The home buyers may offer the right price to make it theirs. But it marks progression of a promise.
Promises are beautiful things. They provide hope and assurance. They communicate commitment. They express intention. They create opportunities to show up.
But promises can be frustrating. Delays can discourage. Changes in course surface doubts. Missed expectations draw out the impatience in us all.
Human promises are only as good as our ability to carry them out. We are limited and sometimes promises must be broken or adjusted.
But there is One who is in the business of making promises He can’t help but keep.
Delays, changes, and missed expectations are just our perceptions. From His vantage point, the promises are always on course. They are always in the making. They are always progressing.
Be it in this driveway or the next one, the most important promises will find their “yes” in Him.
Maybe with a fadeaway jumper. Maybe with an alley-oop. Maybe with a buzzer-bomb.
It’ll always be nothing but net.