Several friends celebrated 50th wedding anniversaries this summer, which goes to show I hang with younger people. We marked ours 5 years ago in Hawaii. Aloha!
Over the years of our marriage, Jud and I found joy in sharing what God entrusted to us. We gave to our church and other people and causes of consequence. Because of the Austins, who had a daughter with Down syndrome, we sent donations to the Special Olympics.
This year the event’s happening in Seattle, where the organization’s celebrating 50 years of winning together. The motto has its history in ancient Rome. These Special Olympians, like gladiators, proclaim: “Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Watching some of the coverage, I’ve been touched by the courage, joy, friendships and determination of these athletes, ranging in age from 8-74. Joy spread from the opening ceremony when the Flame of Hope was lit and athletes, family and friends sang and danced to lyrics urging them to hold up their heads. Head high! The place erupted when the youngest athlete took the microphone and said with heart and believability to thousands gathered, “I love you.”
From the founding of our nation when we made and broke treaties with native peoples until this day, too many of us have shunned the notion of inclusion. Different was bad, good meant same. Look, think, act, believe the same and you’re included. Thankfully there have always been some who’ve fought to appreciate and learn from differences.
There’s a lot to learn from Special Olympians.
When interviewed by ESPN reporters about their experiences, I heard:
“Second place is the best!”
“We’re proud of each other.”
“People includes me!”
Heaven must be smiling, looking down and around at such variety.
All bearing God’s image.
And marked, “Good.”
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