The olympics are one of the most fascinating, exciting, enthralling events that occur in life. They swoop in every two years and capture our hearts, time, and energy for two glorious weeks and then they are gone just like that. When they come around I often analyze just why these are so fun to watch and why do I just love every bit of it? I think I have come to know why. First off there are the opening ceremonies. Arguably these are the highlight of the games every time. But the worst part of the show is the reason why I love them so much. You know the part I am talking about. The parade of nations. This is where all the countries competing enter the stadium under the cheers and yells of the onlookers. Of course this takes the better part of forever, but what a picture of heaven. The nations joining together, cheering each other on as they enter. That’s what heaven is going to be like. Walking into the thunderous cheers and celebration of everlasting life and never ending joy. I can’t wait. Of course we probably won’t walk in alphabetically, but if we do that’s ok too I don’t mind waiting. After the opening ceremonies there are the competitions. There are my favorites, the silly ones, and the just plain bizarre and yes most of those overlap. I love hearing the back stories of the athletes and the road to the olympics. Just to be there is an accomplishment, but to get there and win is beyond amazing. So much talent and specialty in one place. The athletes look so distant from us and then we get to see their back story and they are sitting there in our living room just like us. I love it. Another perfect view of the body of Christ. So much talent, so much uniqueness, and yet we are all the same, beautifully and wonderfully made.
The olympics are about halfway done. My chemo treatments are halfway done. I started this chemo journey with hopes of chemotherapy gold. I just knew I would hit every treatment in stride and react to the meds perfectly. But just as I have watched dreams dashed this week with the likes of Shaun White, Hannah Kearney, and the latest tonight with Evgeni Plushenko, I have watched these chemo treatments take a toll on me. Maybe I was not ready for competition. Maybe I did not psych myself up enough before each treatment. Maybe I am just in the wrong event (I really feel I would kill it in curling). I truly think the way that these three competitors have taken loss has been breathtaking. Shaun White hugs and congratulates the winner and gives a hug to his interviewer. True human spirit there. Hannah Kearney braves the camera interview before breaking into tears right after from the truly heartbreaking mogul hit for her. And my favorite moment, Evgeni Plushenko bows out of the competition from major back pain that would reduce his jumps to nothing. This is not a favorite because he was out, it was a favorite moment because when they interviewed him at the end, he showed his true colors. It was humbling to see someone be completely open and honest on camera and show such sincerity. He told the interviewer that he was just like her, not a super human. He said he fought to the very end and gave it his best. I want to be able to say that.
I am not in the finals. I am in the qualifying rounds. I see the next jump, the next mogul, the next move in my routine. I cannot imagine doing what these athletes do to train and compete. I can’t do it. That’s the beauty of this chemotherapy is that I can’t do that either. Really it is only happening because of Christ living in me.
Another great thing about the olympics this year is that their is a big emphasis on the Matryoshka Doll that you seem prominently on the slopestyle course. These are the Russian nesting dolls that get smaller as you open them. There is a great place that we take our youth to in Macon, MS called Lake Forest Ranch. It is a christian camp for students that we spend a week at every summer with the youth from my church, Calvary Baptist. Last summer the camp director, Rich, gave the youth leaders something to think about when we see these Matryoshka Dolls. He said Christ has God in Him and then we have Christ in us and then we are in Christ and Christ is in God. We are those nesting dolls. Christ in us and us in Christ. It is a beautiful picture. And it is truly the only reason I believe I am making it through chemo. Every time I see that doll on the slope at Sochi, how can I not remember that?
I had so much anxiety heading into the treatment today. I am just tired of them. It was the first time I had to sit in the main room for treatment. All the side rooms were taken. The process bothered me, the constant beeping from the drip machines bothered me, and most of all TV Land bothered me. But I have to sit back and remember, “Hey, God’s got this.”
There was no triple cork flip, triple lutz jump, or record time on my treatment. There was no national anthem for my country played. There was no crowd cheering for the excellent way that the nurse pushed the Red Devil in me for the fourth time. But something more amazing is going on than me catching great air and landing tricks, I am being cured of a cruel and nasty disease that is trying to kill me. And I am taking it one run at a time. Half way there. I can almost taste the gold or is that the chicken mcnugget? Apparently they are comparable.
“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Cause when I’m weak, You make me strong
When I’m blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I’ll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don’t need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I’ll stand on Your truth, and I’ll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me – MercyMe