The Olympics are over, and whether you’re super excited to have your regular programing back or sad that you won’t be finding the thrill of competition splayed across your television screen, you are in the same place as all of us. At the end of the games.
There’s this phenomenon among Olympic athletes called Post Olympic Depression Syndrome. It’s brought on by the sheer nature of life. That we can’t stay on top of the world forever. Eventually, the limelight dims and the fans go back to work, and the great medal-winner is left standing on a podium facing an empty auditorium.
This really applies to just about any time we work toward a goal and are focused on one moment. The goal may be achieved and the moment might be completely brilliant, but eventually, it’s over. Time continues to tick, and we’ve got to move on to the next thing.
There’s nothing after the goal. No plan. No dream. Nothing. And so they turn to other numbing agents, so they don’t have to deal with the life they aren’t living.
Recently, I took another look at the journey of things. The journey is important. Perhaps even more so than the destination. Because when we are learning and growing in the journey, life becomes more than one goal, one destination. Life becomes about living and finding peace wherever we might be.
I think the journey is a key to one of the locks in the door of meaning, and I would venture a guess that athletes who’ve packed more into their training than tunnel vision are probably looking on to the next thing right about now and are not stuck in the blues.
It’s in the training we find out who we are, we see God and learn to trust him, and we develop skills for games that are yet to come. Don’t get me wrong. I also think the destination is important. We should want to go for gold and rise to the top of our personal mountain.
I often hear people say that it doesn’t matter if their work is successful because that’s not why they’re doing it. I don’t think I would ever hear an athlete say that, at least not an Olympic one. You run the race to win the prize. That’s hard and that means we have to work and do more than the next guy and not give up when we come in third or fifth or tenth.
You know what I think it really comes down to? I think that a person isn’t complete until they know God, until their training is with him and the gold is found in pleasing him.
We may be able to make sense of the ordinary and put our medals away and move on, but without God we’ll never be able to make sense of our life and know our purpose. I know people think they do. I hear them speak. I watch them live, but when I ask them about their purpose, the answer they give me is one of medals and stocks and good works and hoping that someone somewhere will remember them. And I think they’re stuck in their own Olympic blues, cause once all is said and done, what do they have?
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-25