Thursday, August 09, 2012

For Olympic Athletes and Harried Housewives, the Prayer is the Same

Many of my friends are having a tough time lately, for one reason or another. They're beating themselves up over things they did or didn't do, words said or unsaid, choices taken or left behind. Looking at the Olympic athletes struggling for victory, you have to realize that many of them are going through the same thing. Most of them will never see Gold or stand on the podium with tears in their eyes. For most, it's a game of almost-ran, and the personal recriminations may be hard to avoid: If I'd done more intervals, eaten differently, used more video analysis, trained harder, I could've been there.

The media doesn't help. I'm sure glad in the wake of my own personal Ironman let-down that I didn't have cameras in my face as I puked or walked or struggled with my inner demons. How many of us could endure our personal athletic or inner struggles being exposed to public scrutiny? I think it shows amazing strength of character that the Olympic athletes can put themselves out there for themselves and their country and sport, and most of them are incredibly gracious, no matter the outcome.

Regardless of whether we win or lose, whether our life path feels like it's headed in the right direction or not, we all have pause to second-guess ourselves and to worry about our life's decisions and actions. In times like this, I like to remember the word Grace. I think it's no small wonder that the hymn Amazing Grace is one of the most enduring and well-loved of all time. As a matter of fact, when I chugged up the hill at the end of the first leg of the Ironman bike course, a group of bagpipers were playing just that tune, sending goosebumps up my arms. Allowing ourselves to experience Grace through all of life's turmoils is not always easy.

That's why my favorite prayer is very short and simple: "I am doing the best I can today. Lord, grant me your Grace." I don't even think it matters if you're Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Sikh or Buddhist. A prayer for Grace is the best gift we can give to ourselves and to the world. For when we act with Grace, whether it's doing our family's laundry or missing the medal stand by a fraction of a second, we bless ourselves and those around us.


Marv said...

Just beautiful, Robin. Love your prayer. I have the movie "Amazing Grace and at the end bagpipes play "Amazing Grace" ----Goosebumps, you are right.
Love your post.

Amy said...

Great post. I've been enjoying reading your blog over the past several months. Now somebody has given me a Leibster Award and I'm paying that forward and giving your blog a Leibster award. It means there is a link to your blog in my latest post. Let me know if you want me to take it down and I will.

Unknown said...

off topic: I am trying to reach you for advice on swimming in Crater Lake in 2 weeks. I can't find a way to privately email you through this site. mine is benjamin_hall at yahoo dot com. thanks