By Cheryl Black
I know I’m not alone when I confess the Olympics often led me to the edge of tears a short time ago. You too?
I’ve never even tried to do a Triple Axel, or stood at the top of a 295-foot high ski jump, or flung myself onto a skeleton sled to whip down an icy path—even at a snail’s pace. Why is it that elite athletes, whom we likely don’t know personally and whose skills we have never tried to match, can move me and you to such emotional precipices?
I think what we share is the experience of risk. Can I risk being more? Doing more? Reaching the full potential of what I was meant to be?
As Christians we risk being classified as kooks, simpletons who’d believe anything, “born again weirdos”. We risk being misunderstood or even mistrusted by acquaintances and perhaps friends who cannot get beyond the word “Christian” to see that our actions and our beliefs do not necessarily put us in the camp with Creationists and evangelists.
But more important than risking misunderstanding, we risk not always matching up to the standard set by Jesus. We don’t always achieve our “personal best” every day. We don’t always live by the Golden Rule, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We fail and we fall.
If I constantly worry about what God might have planned for me, and worry that the path I’m on isn’t the one God intended, then I risk not achieving anything. I risk getting stuck in the midst of doubt and indecision.
When I watched those athletes risking pain and heartache, broken bones and battered egos, I welled up with tears. Each one of them is trying to live into the supreme physical gift that God has given them. Trying to be more. Knowing that they may not achieve their personal best that day, but, by golly, they are going to try!
And if they don’t get to the podium this time, they’ll try again. As a Christian I can learn a lot from their example. Even if it makes me cry.
The Highlands United Church blog welcomes contributions from you for this space. Maximum 500 words. Please send your thoughts and reflections to Rev. Cheryl Black.