Thought for the Day - Brian Draper - 08/09/2012
Must all good things really come to an end? This weekend we must steel ourselves to say farewell to “London 2012”, and I think it’d be fair to say that for a lot of us sceptics, the Olympics and Paralympics crept up on and then quite simply overtook us with their uniquely captivating story lines.
And while the athletes have undoubtedly been the heroes, everyone has played a role, it seems - from coaches to volunteers to spectators - in creating something far more magical than the sum of its parts. In fact, any one of us who cheered or clapped or cried, in a stadium or in front of a screen, now has a stake in something unforgettable.
Instant nostalgia, however, can make us want to grab on for dear life when good things are drawing to a close - and you can end up with all the souvenirs and DVD box sets you can muster, but still miss the point entirely: which is, that we can’t trap the wonder of such wonderful times and pin it like a butterfly to a wall.
In fact, the spiritual approach is not to hold tight but to hold lightly. “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it,” said Jesus, enigmatically. If we can’t learn to let go, how can we make room for what’s to come, after all.
In the film American Beauty, Lester, a grumpy middle-aged man, has an epiphany following his mid-life crisis, and begins, at last, to appreciate the nature of beauty, and beautiful times:
“Sometimes I feel like ... it’s too much,” he reflects. “My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every moment of my stupid little life.”
And surely with similar gratitude, we can let go of the Games, to let what’s been so good about them keep coursing through us. Perhaps, instead of watching endless re-runs to keep the flame alight, our challenge as spectators is to become participants - to leave the sofa and be inspired by the likes of David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft or Jonnie Peacock, to start where their race ends.
Whether it’s by volunteering, or exercising, or inspiring others by pursuing our own personal best, in sport or in life, every one of us who clapped, or cheered, or cried, now has a baton to receive ourselves, if we are willing to drop the remote, and open our hands, and get on our marks.
Available since: Tue 11 Sep 2012
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