Life after the Olympics?
It seems just as soon as we witnessed the marvellous Opening Ceremony, the Closing Ceremony for the Olympics is here. The continual roller coaster of competition, with its joys and desperate disappointments has been transfixing. The media have commented on the good feelings generated by a hugely successful competition but are now wondering if we will retreat back into despondency because of a double dip recession. Perhaps the media are part of the solution to the national mood? Rather than focusing on the gloom, why not continue to tell the stories of incredible achievement despite impossible personal circumstances?
It’s been a refreshing change to watch sport other than football (and I say this as a football club chaplain who loves the beautiful game!). The endurance needed in certain events is incredible. I loved watching the coaches and technicians in the velodrome celebrating with such passion as their respective riders enjoyed success. What about super Saturday when three gold medals were won by Team GB in such a short period of time! We were in a restaurant on the south coast and joined total strangers in celebrating phenomenal success.
But now it’s ending.
So often we find ways of deflecting the realities, pressures and challenges of life. We look to deny our particular reality and substitute it for some kind of escape. Maybe there are more of us with addictions than we care to admit?
It was fascinating to hear Usain Bolt describe the love and care shown to the athletes in the Olympic Village. Then there was Sebastian Coe commending the legions of volunteers who gave themselves to helping the nations get to where they were going. Team GB seemed to include everyone and a fresh national pride and identity has re-emerged. Maybe one way of sustaining some of this is simply by giving ourselves to serving and caring for the needs of others? One of the best ways of facing into difficult times seems bizarre. It’s actually giving – sometimes out of our nothingness. Interestingly the bible talks about us receiving as we give. As we look to support the needs of others it seems as if our own life pressures find a new perspective. One of the big battles every human being has is the thought that our problems are not fixable. The way we think about a problem can be more destructive to us than the actual problem or challenge itself.
So, now the Olympics have come and gone, and perhaps as we catch a glimpse of the Paralympic heroes refusing to be limited by their particular disabilities, how about focusing on ways we can give of ourselves even when it seems our resources have dissipated? The bible teaches us to run our race with perseverance, keeping our eye on the prize.
What are you aiming towards over the coming months and years, and does it fundamentally include looking out for the needs of others as you run?