for those who didn’t place at the olympics

 you tried so hard, but the point wasn’t a gold medal.  was it?

it was.

the gold was the point.  the years, the sacrifice.  what you wanted was the highest podium and your song playing as you bowed your humble head and they hung it around your neck.

instead you showed up and tried your very best.  you gave your all and finished dead last. athletes flew past you, they landed their dismounts with nary a stumble, they dove through the air the likes of which you’d never seen.

instead of fame, they hung obscurity around your neck.

so now what?

what do you do when all your plans fail?  when you aren’t the golden child and the prizes go to someone else?

i don’t know about you, but i go and eat straight out of the ice cream carton.  sometimes i don’t even use a spoon.  but since i want to fit into my jeans, i have to stop eventually and figure out a plan b.

the bible talks a lot about the hidden life.  about the life that no one sees and that that life matters greatly to god.  but it can feel cold comfort when other people walk away with the endorsement deals and everyone snapping their picture.

how do you embrace a hidden life?

first you have to believe that god even exists.  because if he doesn’t then a hidden life is a waste of time.  better to go for the gold, train harder for the next four years, or take up drinking.  but there are signs around me, arms that reach up and hold my neck and tell me that first prize isn’t the point.

evidence of god comes in disguise most times.

maybe there’s more room there at the bottom of the list.  first place is so well scripted, but last?  who cares?  when you’re last there is space to breathe, to look around and see what you’d really like to do anyway.  maybe you don’t want to smile for the camera for the rest of your days.  maybe the narrow way has been so narrow that you’ve missed what was just to your left, just to you right.

maybe you can start to actually believe that the last will be first and you can stop trying so hard and start living.

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