This is my time. My Super Bowl. My World Cup Final. Friends, we are soaking in the Olympic spirit once again, this time from Tokyo, Japan. I've been reading articles for the last year about the athletes, the coaches, and the qualifying matches. I record the opening ceremonies so that commercial breaks won't break my trance. When possible, the TV is on during that two week stretch, so I can catch every moment, even if I have to set down the dishes in the sink and hold my breath to watch the final seconds of a race.
I admit it. I'm a huge Olympics nerd. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. My elementary school's Reflections Contest? I submitted a watercolor picture of myself on the podium with my country's flag behind me and a gold medal hanging around my neck. But WHY? You might ask.
I love the stories, the tales of grit and determination.
I love the underdogs who take on countries far more dominant in a sport and emerge victorious, exhilaration on their faces.
I love the camaraderie, the sportsmanship, the unity amongst those in the trenches. In fact, that's the surest way to make me tear up.
I love the family's reactions, kissing and crying, and being in the moment.
But more than anything else, I love when someone does something "IMPOSSIBLE." Trailblazers who break barriers and prove everyone wrong. "Yes, I CAN do that!"
It happens every time. Someone will inevitably be faster than anyone else and will set a world record in the process. Someone else makes it to the final or wins a medal for the very first time in their country. Someone bounces back, comes from behind, physically or mentally, and smashes all the experts' predictions. Oooh, I love those trailblazers!
My poor husband has to hear about every highlight, every backstory, and wonders why his wife is hiccupy-crying with the TV remote in her hand.
The thing is, the Olympics is only a microcosm of underdogs and determination, supportive family, and barrier-breakers. Yes, once every four years, I'm in my Olympic-fanfare happy place, but that's not the only time. If I look closely, I'm surrounded by people proving experts wrong, doing the "impossible."
The situations vary:
Whenever I tell someone I am a licensed foster mom, 4.5/5 times the reply is "Oh, I could never do that."
A woman is diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer and her coworkers whisper, "Oh, I don't think I could go through that."
A couple patiently attends to a severely disabled child in the back of the auditorium. Many might glance backwards and think, "Oh, I could never do that."
A man loses his family in a tragic accident. The people reading about the details of the crash shake their heads and think, "Oh, I don't think I could do that."
And the stories could go on and on . . .
We do it. Someone has probably looked at what you're going through and thought, "Oh, I could never do that." We don't always choose our circumstances, but we are doing what people around us think is impossible. There might not be a camera in our face, or our country's banner flying behind us. There has never been a world quite like the one we have now. The challenges we wrestle on a day to day basis? That's never been done before. Not like now.
You were sent to this world at this time for a reason. God needed you to be a trailblazer. You are strong enough to break the barriers for those who follow. You bounce back when you fall. We lift each other in our struggles, sometimes dragging each other to the finish line at the end of the day. Our families and closest friends might be there on the sidelines every day, cheering us on. We are doing the impossible.
Do you know how inspiring you are to someone else? Just because you're making it through the day?
Lift up your head and smile. Of course it's hard. But you, my friend, are a fighter. You don't need a medal to prove your worth.
I see what you're doing.
Thank you for hanging in there.