As I sit and watch the Olympic Games once again, I am so impressed by all of the hard work and effort of each person who has become a leader in their individual sport to the point that they have been selected to represent their country in the Olympics. I listen to the stories of many of these people and all that they have had to endure and overcome to reach this level. I can't help but be in awe of those who have sacrificed so much and stood by the sides of these athletes in support of them and their goals, often times at the expense of being able to reach their own goals. And suddenly, I am struck by the thought that what I am really seeing is the human spirit that is within all of us and on display every single day of our lives.
I thought for a moment about the young cancer victim who is going through days of pain and suffering and illness while undergoing chemotherapy in order to beat this ugly disease. I think about the parents and other family members who give of their time to visit the child in the hospital, or to take them back and forth to doctor appointments or who try to provide some food and drink that the child can tolerate and who give of their love and their hugs and hours on end in the effort to comfort that child for what may seem like an eternity. And should that child be successful in their fight to beat this disease, there won't be any parades to honor them. Their picture won't appear on the Wheaties box and they won't be asked to do any product endorsements. They won't receive any medals nor will they be treated like a hero for the rest of their life. Rather, they will spend their life being a "survivor" rather than a "winner" and will always carry with them that fear in the back of their mind that the cancer just might come back at any time and they know that despite their very best efforts, if they don't come out on top, they will lose everything because they will lose their life.
So as I watch the Olympic Games, I certainly will have an appreciation for every athlete there but I will find myself thinking about all of those who I know that are fighting disease or abuse or who are just trying to find a way to pay their bills, feed their families and survive some pretty tough times. I will give thanks to all of those who are standing beside someone else in support of their efforts, who are giving their love and who are reaching out to help in any way possible. I will think of all of those people that I know who are working to follow their dreams and those who are helping them. And I will be thinking about every person who sacrificed their own dream in order to help someone else succeed in life.
To me, the Olympic Games serve as a reminder of all that is the best of the human spirit. We are all striving to be the best that we can be at whatever we choose to be or whatever we need to do. The indomitable spirit of never giving up, to keep on going despite all adversity and to help and love each other is what life is truly all about and that is truly the Olympic spirit within all of us. I am grateful for the reminder as we once again all join together on this global stage.