Tuesday, August 9, 2016

“Stand up for the underdog, the 'loser.' Sometimes having the strength to show loving support for unacknowledged others turns the tides of our own lives.” ― Alexandra Katehakis



     Out here in the East African bush, we are getting six channels of live HD Olympic coverage and can pick from any of four or five sports at any one time.  Satellite technology was invented for missionaries.  It’s a real pleasure to be able to be a part of this worldwide event.  We were cheering for the Hungarian woman swimmer who set a world’s record, and the USA relay team with Michael Phelps adding his nineteenth gold medal to his pile.  I’ve been watching archery, air rifle shooting, weight lifting, fencing,  swimming, gymnastics (saw the horrible broken leg episode), and even table tennis (not my favorite).  What I have liked most about these Olympics are the big smiles on the faces of those who won Bronze and Silver medals.  I remember watching the Olympics on American television and hearing the commentators talking about winning Silver as if it was a loss.  A Silver or Bronze Medal in any Olympics is not a loss.  Just being in the Olympics is such a rush, and there are so many stories about athletes who just barely made it and are so happy just to be competing.  If I had ever made it to the Olympics in any event, I would have all the certificates, letters, and other paperwork plastered all over my walls.  Everyone who knew me for over five minutes would know that I had competed in an Olympic event.  To be in the top three in the world in any sport is to be celebrated, and I love that those standing on the side steps of the medal platform are not pouting or frowning but genuinely happy.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be.  It is also very uplifting to see the second and third place finishers being congratulated by the first place winner and being hugged by the others who medaled.  The winners know what it took to be there and to be on the medal stand receiving awards and do not look down on the second and third steps as places of shame.  I must confess that once I was only thrilled if an American won, and only if that American was the one I wanted to win (wasn’t a big fan of Mark Spitz).  Now, happily, I can root for and celebrate with Hungarians, Vietnamese, Japanese, Swiss, or any other country’s athletes who managed to get to the Olympics and who compete with all their heart and being.  Anyone can be happy with their own success.  The thing that separates Christians from others is the ability to enjoy the success of others without resentment and with true happiness for them.  The more I watch these games in Rio, the more I see that there is really only one race: the human race.  All the other differences are minor at best.  It is how we treat others in winning or in losing that defines us, and it is how we will be judged, if you believe what Christ says in the Gospels—and I do.  Don’t worry, be happy for all those who are getting to compete on a world stage and are doing it with grace and charm.  Can you live your life with Christ in your heart so that others only see the grace and charm that is you?
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