I was driving to a meeting at the time of the Olympics when I heard an interview with one of the grandmother’s of a Canadian athlete. As always, tears came to my eyes at the depth of pride and love that grandma had for her grandson.
There are many reasons that I have become uneasy about the Olympics. The criticism that suggests the games are a waste of money on venues that seems extravagant in the face of human need creates some disquiet within me especially with the suggestion that the games create even more hardship for vulnerable populations who are displaced to make room for Olympic venues. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/sochi-olympics-ugly-environmental-legacy-on-a-small-village-nahlah-ayed-1.2547148?cmp=rss)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of my country’s athletes for working hard and struggling through the many obstacles to compete for our country.
But as I cheered many of them on, I did so hoping and praying that the good that happens at the Olympics outweighs the politics and negative effects.
I love the wonderful things about humanity that appear during the Olympics, like the Canadian coach who found a replacement ski for another athlete from a different country so he could cross the finish line with dignity. I love the stories about the athletes who have overcome amazing odds and tragedy to perform amazing feats. I love the stories like that of the first place winner who at the finish line greeted the last place athlete and congratulated him on completing the race.
Perhaps that’s why tears come to my eyes when I listen to the back ground stories of the athletes. Because somewhere I recognize that in the midst of this daily life, any of us can do extraordinary things. I recognize that even in the bleakest of circumstances, a kind word, a gentle touch or even the smallest of gestures can bring light.
You see, the Olympics aren’t the only structures and institutions with questionable politics and stories of good and bad. Nothing in our world is totally incorruptible and yet all around us are stories of people who show kindness in the midst of it all.
It’s in these moments, these stories that I glimpse the hand of God.