Oh how I am enjoying being in bed before midnight. Just when I thought I had got rested over the summer, the Olympics kicked in and kept me up to all hours watching Farah, Bolt, Ennis Hill and the rest.
Mind you, wasn’t it brilliant. It was a remarkable festival of sport.. and for me it ended up almost like a spiritual retreat. I will remember the Rio Olympics as the Games that asked hard questions of my soul.
What on earth do I mean? Well, I found that the post race, match, jump, pummel horse back flip interviews were more teary than ever before. The reason for the tears would then come out in all the emotional interviews. Was it just me or was it that more than ever before the cost of winning medals or just being an Olympian was highlighted.
And that is where my soul took a pummelling. What people were prepared to sacrifice for a medal kept asking me questions of my own life and faith. How committed am I prepared to be for what I believe and want to achieve in my life.
I was most struck by an interview with one of the victorious GB & NI Women’s hockey team. When asked about the sacrifice she had made she said that it hadn’t been a sacrifice - it was a life choice. Again I was challenged and inspired. What are my life choices and how do I go after them.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
Though Paul is speaking directly to those of us who share a Christian faith, the Olympics sermon is for us all. Who’ll be the Mo Farah, Helen Richardson-Walsh, the Jason Kenny, the Laura Trott or the hilarious Irish rowers The O’Donovans in the school. office, factory floor or local Assembly this morning.
So now that they are over… I’ll get more sleep… at least until the Paralympics start in a couple of weeks… but I think the inspiring sportsmen and women of Rio will go on provoking my soul to live life and life in all its fulness.