The 2012 Summer Olympics continues to roll forth in all of its unscripted glory this week from London. Sadly, I have not been able to watch even 1/10th the amount I wish I could! But, whether I am actually watching or not, (and despite how corny this sounds), I can feel the Spirit of The Games infusing the world with more energy, hope and passion for living. It’s like Christmas. I can’t really explain it, but things just feel different somehow. In a good way. The world’s a little more “shiny“.
I was thinking about that Olympic Spirit as I got dressed this morning, and as I cooked my omelet, and as I sleepily rode on the early bus with my fellow sleepy passengers. I thought about the Olympic Spirit as I exited the bus under a cloudy sky in a light summer rain, and as I made my way to my office building where a pile of tasks were waiting (rather impatiently) on my desk.
I work for a large University that houses a medical school, and a respected hospital network. I have found that the most convenient and efficient way to reach my particular office each day is to ride the bus directly to the main entrance of the hospital, and then walk inside the doors, make my way through the long main corridor of the building, exit through the back doors, and move a few more paces to my destination. This route means that five days a week my path intersects, however briefly, with lives full of some very real drama.
I see people of every age, race, economic situation, and walk of life in the halls of the hospital, living with various stages of health, disease or sadly, even decay. I see young children skipping blithely and joyfully holding strings of “Get Well” balloons. I see souls walking briskly with purpose and passion – (often a young medical resident perhaps, or a ‘candy striped’ volunteer). And, I see the many bodies being stretched to their limits, making a small victory of one agonizing step after another. Each soul exudes so many stories of pleasure, gain, triumph or pain.
I try not to stare. I pick up my pace. I forbid my heart to hurt too much…but, I see them. My soul cannot help but ache when I catch a breath of their desperate, determined will-to-live as I breeze by.
♪♫ “There but for the Grace of God Go I” ♪♫
And what, you may ask, could these athletic games being played miles and miles and oceans away possibly have to do with me, and these people, and this place? Perhaps a great deal more than we can humanly imagine.
This morning I read a featured “Freshly Pressed” blog post here at WP written by US Olympian megan kalmoe (a two-time United States Olympian in Women’s Rowing) she has titled “The Process“. I hope she does not mind me borrowing a few quotes from her insightful article as it inspired this post:
“Just like every other year–there’s a process to medaling, and before you can even think of standing on the podium, or even lining up for the Final, you have to take the necessary steps to earn a place in that Final.”
I am thinking of the new mother sitting anxiously in her hospital bed quietly learning the “necessary steps” – the process - of how to nurse and care for the precious small life force she cradles in her arms. I think of her passion, hopes and dreams for that child, to “earn a place” in the world.
I think of the elderly man clinging tightly to his elderly wife as he shuffles slowly down the antiseptic hall, as she tenderly guides him to the next doctor appointment, or PT session, or test. I think of “the Process” they are each undergoing of aging with grace, and taking the necessary steps to “earn a place“ in that great “Final” of all Finals.
I think of Mr. MoSop and I, pushing forward each day, measuring our successes, learning from our failures, refining, honing, agonizing as we tread the uncharted “process” of letting go of our last baby bird, reaching that “final” milestone of every parenting journey.
“We handled the pressure of the situation well, executing our race like we wanted to. We also handled the conditions well–which, according to most everyone, were pretty challenging today”.
Megan, like all great Olympians, has learned how to “handle the pressure of [a challenging] situation” in her craft. Through all her long hours, days, weeks and years of dedication, hard work, [and delightful sense of humor] she has gained a beautiful prize – a universal wisdom – a pearl of great truth that only our hardest life experiences can bring.
“I’m happy to be here. Relaxed. Enjoying the experience. The nerves will come…but I am ready for that…the simpler and more streamlined we can make our approach, the better. We have achieved what we came here to do, which is earn a place in the Final. Now, what we do with that opportunity is up to us.”
Beautiful, powerful words to live by.
No matter where we live. No matter what language we speak. No matter our religious affiliations, political persuasions, circumstance or struggle. No matter our place on the road of life we must travel, we each have our unique chance to “earn our place“, to “achieve what we came here to do” and to embrace our “opportunity“.
God Bless You, dear Olympians, for the Spirit of Endurance, Courage, and Hope you give to our world! - MoSop
**A Special thank you to Olympian athlete Megan Kalmoe for inspiring this blog post. May God bless her and her team with a joyful “Final”!**
- Going For The Gold In London: The Process (meagankalmoe.com)
- Olympic Rowing 2012: St. Paul’s Megan Kalmoe And U.S. Advance To Final In London (minnesota.sbnation.com)
- Mormons Competing In The 2012 London Olympics (desnews.com)
- Ones to watch on day four of the Olympic Games (itv.com)
- From 1896 to Now: A Look at 19 Former New England Olympians [Slideshow] (bostinno.com)