Fundamental Lessons about Humanity

Fundamental lessons about humanity at the Olympics and home by guest bloggist Brenda Evers, Ellicott City, Maryland

The recent Olympics brought stirring memories to me of watching a runner for the 1984 Olympics carrying the torch through the streets of Los Angeles.  Holding my year old daughter, I wanted to share with her the feeling of universal brotherhood and triumph I felt.

The Olympics is one of the few international events that fosters that sense of brotherhood.  Also, the spirit of triumph seems to go deeper than just winning sporting events.  Even amid the heavy sense of competition, that sense of common humanity and oneness reaches to the individual human heart, whenever challenges are overcome.  It’s a lesson I, too, learned early in my own life.

Early on, I enjoyed competing with others for good grades in school. It felt good to be the winner! It wasn’t until I took a competitive swimming class in college that I began to view competition differently.

I wasn’t a very good swimmer, I admit, but the class taught me a truth about competition that I still use.  The lesson I learned is that the best competition is competition with yourself.  Unlike high school where I might have studied hard to make the best grades, no amount of studying could make me improve my swim strokes.  Only practice could do that; practice and concentrating on my own skills.  Not those of others.

I also learned two other important lessons.  First, it was only fear that held me back from improving, and second, the fear was overcome, when I realized I loved to swim.  As the Bible says “perfect love casts out fear.”

I may not have been the best swimmer coming out of that competitive swimming class.  In fact, I was the very slowest.  I still had a lot to learn.  But I did consider myself a winner.

I had learned that true competition is really self improvement and has very little to do with the performance of others.  That to me was a Christian lesson in humility, a lesson of Olympian proportions, and I was glad to learn it.  I hope that those who competed in London during these past exciting weeks have had the privilege of learning the same lesson.

Photo by matt.hintsa uploaded from flickr.com

Brenda is a writer who loves to learn about and share with readers the connection between spirituality and health. In addition, she is a Christian Science Practitioner in Ellicott City, Maryland.  She and her husband and children spent many wonderful years in Southern California and now are happy to have returned to the “Land of the Green”, beautiful Maryland.