I mean, on any given Saturday, if Ryan happens to land on the X games or if there is some ice skating competition on, I an NOT interested. I don't follow of these people in real life. Two weeks ago, I could not have told you Evan Lysacek's name, the life story of Frank Carrol (his coach--come on, keep up now), or that the Koreans disdain Apolo Anton Ohno. I didn't know that the USA player to score the winning goal on the Canadians (in the first game, that is) plays for Vancouver in the NHL. Why have I invested myself in all that recently?
Well, my first thought comes to national pride. In our little school, we have been keeping track of the medal count daily on a graph. The kids are keenly aware that other countries have more golds than we do, but that we are still have the most overall. Ryan has added an app to the itouch to keep us up-to-date on the medal standings. We faithfully cheer for USA (pronounced by Jess "Oo-suh") and despair when we are not even near the podium.
But really, my interest in the Olympics is not just because of patriotism. It is what interests most of us in life: Story. What the Olympics give us is the story about the athletes. It offers a glimpse into what has made them who they are today. How they got here. What they have overcome. That they have lives that have led to this point. Some of them we have come to know over the past few Olympics, seen parts of their story unfold at the games. We see former Olympians in the crowd and realize that there is life after a lifetime accomplishment.
The events in the Olympics are interesting. But what captures us is the story.
We are all in the midst of a story. Mine doesn't play out the way I expect it to sometimes. I try to keep parts of it hidden. Other times I want to give myself way too much credit for the good things. But today, tomorrow, is just one part of the story.
I have a story. You have a story. Your crazy neighbor with the loud kids in the backyard has a story. If we take the time to find out, and share, our stories, we will care more about one another, invest more in each other.
I think many of us who grew up in the church take for granted the stories in the Bible. We know them so well, that we miss them entirely. They are really one story, the story of God. The gift that the Bible gives us is that glimpse into the daily lives of the heroes, if we take the time to see it. Moses parted the Red Sea, but before that, God almost killed him, apparently because he hadn't circumcised his sons. Rahab supported her family with the oldest profession, but knew there was the one true God who sought to save her from what she had made of herself. Samson had the strength of God, but a weakness for women. God used then all in his story.
The Olympics will end tomorrow. But the stories will continue. The athletes will go home, celebrate, hit the talk show circuit, retire or begin training for Sochi 2014. We will see a few of them again, and, after not thinking of them for 4 years, will cheer passionately for them again the next time.
So as the flame extinguishes, remember the stories--theirs, and ours, and our neighbors--go on. God is telling his story in each of us.