I see the tears and anguish and want to console each one. Walk through the big screen and give a long embrace.
I want to tell them you are not your shortcomings. You are not defined by your loss.
I watch them come up short of a medal, these Olympic athletics and I long to console them. Wipe their tears, dry their eyes.
After all the training and all the effort and the blood sweat and tears, they fail to win big on the world stage.
This outcome, this turn of events, these results are not their Plan A.
You are so much more than this one competition, though often your life and certainly your training have built up to this, lead to this, I long to say to the losers. The ones who fail to win the medals.
Because in my eyes, they are winners.
They and their stories are gold medal winners. And I’d give them each a medal for their humanity. Their humaneness on display for the world to see. Those who struggled and trained and gave it their all, but fell short. Or made a costly mistake. Or stumbled. Or botched the routine. Or simply had an off day. Or who ran out of steam.
Those Olympians whose stories are ripe with over-coming hardship and difficulty. Those whose story wins the medal for its tender perserverance, its victory over life’s rocky places take up big spaces in my heart.
They are the all of us so often. So very often.
They are raw and human and hurting. They feel loss and disappointment. And they are humbled by their shortcomings.
They are you. They are me. They are everyman living and struggling before our eyes. Though they wear an Olympic uniform we have walked where they are.
We know that sting. We know that pain. We know that deep hurt.
If I were an Olympic judge, they would get the medal for being there. For practicing hard and showing up to compete. For being a human. For being human. For being.
Because they look like winners to me. They wear their ache like a medal of bravery for being man.
And I know that more often than not, they can turn their disappointment into good and for the good.
They can take the moment of defeat and tease lessons from the trials. Wrap it into a future Hope for tomorrow. Take the loss and build on it, learn from it.
The lessons from loss and disappointment so often bring big victories in charachter. They layer lessons of life on us like new skin, tougher smarter wiser layers of humanity.
They give us a humility. And they teach in a way that out and out winning the gold simply does not.
Because the lessons from difficulty teach from an entirely different book. And the lessons from suffering and pain are the ones that make us more human, more tender and more able to help and serve a hurting world.
And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God- those whom he has called… Romans 8:28.
But don’t we know how profoundly they are suffering when they stumble and fall and go home empty from these events. Don’t we know. Can’t we suffer alongside them, in our common humanity. In our shared state of being human and frail, vulnerable.
Don’t we feel deep in our bones and in our flesh and in our soul, the bruising and banging of the hurt. Of the falling just short, or very short, or way way off the mark entirely.
Don’t we long to change the story. Change their story. Edit, re-write the parts of hurt and suffering.
Don’t we long to re-wind the tape and turn the tide back for them. And let them start again afresh, anew. A second time. Don’t we want for them a do-over.
Don’t we want for them to win what they came for.
But their stories, when they stumble will be beautiful in loss.
And their stories will wear a crown of victory if they let them. And all the hurt and pain can be written into something beautiful in the end.
And the moments of hurt and pain can be redeemed. By Him who makes all things new.
If I were an Olympic judge I would give them gold for being a participant in the event. In this event of living this always wonderful always beautiful, sometimes difficult life.
And as they reach their hand for the medal I would say always remember” His mercies are new everyday.”
Now get back out there and finish your story. Your beautiful story that is your life.
Joining with Jennifer today at GDWJ.
And with Duane at Unwrapping His Promises and also for the first time here as well……