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Strength and Spirit

Photo by: Nick Miller

Today is the last day of the London Paralympics. Sounds as if this has been an overwhelmingly emotional and inspirational marathon of the human spirit.

I appreciated, early on, hearing Bob from Cornwall talk about how moved he has been by what he’s seen.

Would love to hear more from Bob or any one else who has been able to watch.

Seeing strength step into and rise above weakness reflects the source of our shared humanity.

Overcoming physical deficits with the honor of winning or losing well is a reminder that the material props of our bodies and lives are merely a stage and showcase for something and Someone far greater.


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45 Responses to “Strength and Spirit”

  1. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Mart,
    The whole Olympic bid placed by London 7 years ago was based on one word.

    LEGACY

    Not just the legacy of what to do with the buildings, the regeneration of south east London or obvious economic/marketing legacy, but it is about the legacy for the people, both who took part or were spectators.

    The Olympic flame was handed on to 7 young athletes because it is up to them to carry the Olympic movement and the youth of Britain and the World forward.
    We all remember the great names of the 2012 Olympics and theirs is a legacy that will reverberate across the globe for a long time to come.

    What has happened with the PARALYMPICS is even more amazing!
    Not only has it given a platform for young and not so young disabled people to compete, it has lifted their whole existence to a new level.
    Now we have as many, if not more, famous names in Paralympics as the Olympics.
    No longer are any thought of or seen as disabled but they are enabled and they are no longer measured by their disability but by their ABILITY!
    One of the Legacies of these games is that we can now talk openly about prosthetic limps, ask questions about how someone with no arms goes to the toilet and basically be “normal” ourselves when with people with bits missing or Cerebral Palsy etc.
    Our media TV, News Papers, Internet has treated everyone as heroes and there has been more pictures and coverage than the Olympics last month.
    The theme was Enlightenment.
    The outcome is Legacy.
    A Legacy is a gift from one person to another, often one generation to another.
    This is our legacy to the world that we will no longer treat those less fortunate than ourselves less than equal to ourselves.

    One other aspect of both games has been the crowd.
    When Johnny Peacock ran in the T54 100 metres the crowd were shouting “Peacock” “Peacock”, he just turned around before the start raised his arms then beckoned them to be quite so as not to effect the other competitors.
    90,000 people went quiet and you could have heard a pin drop. Johnny won the Gold, with Oscar Pisthorius coming 4th. Oscar did win the 400 metre final, the very last track event of the games last night and the crowd went wild!
    Amazing scenes all through both games.
    Tonight there will be a party in London and the stadium will be a mass of people and athletes celebrating one of the greatest events ever seen!

    Bob

  2. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I want to emphasises that there is no distinction, in my mind, between the Olympic & Paralympic games!
    And there is no distinction between the competitors in either.

    All are Olympians.
    All are Heroes.
    All are Winners.

  3. His Sparrow says:

    Wow Bob! can you write!!!

    What a great commentary and true words!

    I agree with you – no distinction between Olympic & Paralympic games – Olympians, Heroes, Winners!

    Love
    His Sparrow

  4. Mart De Haan says:

    Bob, thanks for giving us a look at the games and their significance through your eyes and heart.

  5. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Just watching the build up to the closing ceremony.
    All the athletes have come in before the start and are sat in the best places to see an amazing show.

    I Want to say something about Ghana.
    They sent four athletes who gave their all for their country and were eager to take part and joined in a lot of the TV coverage.
    They came from a country where it is considered a disgrace to have a disabled person in your village, so they are kept hidden or pushed out.
    These four athletes are returning as heroes.
    Ghana will never be quite the same again!

    That was worth the whole event.
    That is legacy!

    We must make sure both here at home and across the world that the momentum created at these games is carried forward to Rio & beyond and that our hearts are opened up to all people and that we are never the same again!

    Remember the Legacy that Jesus left us?

    Bob

  6. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    One thing we have to remember is that these athletes have been training everyday for four years for a couple of minutes competing, there are thousands around us everyday that are not athletes but are struggling and working just as hard to compete in life itself.
    Many are family, many are friends.
    Just as in the body of Christ, no one part can live without the other.
    Remember, we need them as much as they need us.
    Brethren, Love one another!

    Bob

  7. poorinspirit says:

    Thank you Bob for sharing a very vivid and moving description of the PARALYMPICS. I find myself reflecting upon the race in which we, as members of the Body of Christ Jesus, find ourselves (Hebrews 12:1-3).
    Thanks again!

    God Bless,
    poorinspirit

  8. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Just heard that over 400 Paralympic records were broken during the games, 51 of which were world records.

    Mart’s link to London Paralympics. above gives lots of good info.

    I have said enough.
    Just going to sit back and enjoy the finale.

    Bob

  9. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I am being indulged.
    My favourite band, Cold Play, have just give an hour long fabulous concert in the middle of the closing ceremony.
    Unbelievable!

  10. davids says:

    Bob’s comment shows that the organizers weren’t willing to just hold another shadow event. They put the resouorces of a compassionate country to work, setting as their goal to change people’s perceptions and attitudes.

    People’s attitudes and values do change. Slavery, racism, women’s rights, war, domestic violence, and treatment of animals are some of the areas where beliefs and practices once held by the mainstream are now on the fringe.

    Christians visibly led some of these movements. Recalling some of our recent converstations, it would be great if Christians were better known for expanding inclusion and acceptance of all people than for exclusion and judging others.

  11. foreverblessed says:

    Bob, thanks for making us enthousiastic for the paralympics. In our country it is not a big thing. We can watch it late at night. But every day there is an article in the newspaper. There I read that the first paralympics were organised in 1948, to give new meaning in the lives of all those who were disabled in the war like soldiers.
    That the people in Britain are so enthousiastic about the games, is very good. I hope that all these athletes will find the real fulfillment in life, now it is all over, and it will be another 4 years till the next one. I hope that people will look with other eyes, not only the good and the beautifull, but all of us.

  12. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    There are competitions all the time and world championships etc. just like in every sport.
    There is plenty for people to get on with.

  13. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    The Paralympic flame has just been lowered but, before the last bowl was extinguished, torches were lit from it to carry the flame and the spirit of the games to all parts of the country to keep alive the legacy of enlightenment that has been achieved.
    Now that sums up the whole games and the whole summer here in Britain.

  14. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    We are celebrating achievement in sport, alongside achievement in the human condition.
    Doesn’t matter if you are whole or missing bits, blind or have cerebral palsy.
    The achievement is as an athlete!

  15. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Bob, the closing ceremony is right now on our tv, at midnight. I saw a disabled drummerplaying with the band Coldplay, that is so cool! I hope disabled people will have more opportunities in real life. And now they play togehter with the Paraorchestra, all disabled musicions, how great. I sometimes am a bit concerned, are these people not doing things that are too strenuous for them? I hope not, anyway, it’s late, have to go to bed.

  16. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    only 11pm here and the London 2012 Games are officially over with the largest display of fireworks I have ever seen in the city.

    One more event, a parade of athletes through London tomorrow to honour their achievements.

    soon be Christmas :-(

    Bob xxx

  17. poohpity says:

    Thank you Bob for the heartfelt commentary. Can not wait to see the games on TV this week here, better late than never. The US seems to be behind the brits in more ways than one, ;-)

    Just saw a movie that fit right in with the theme of being different than others not necessarily with a special ability and also thought of Bruce “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”, just beautiful.

  18. His Sparrow says:

    Steve(FDBWV)
    Hi
    Hey
    Does Matt have some perspective for us on this topic?

    Thank you.

    Love
    His Sparrow

  19. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I hope all is well with you. I spent a few hours at the river this aftenoon just listening for the Lord to speak to me and hoping to receive some of the Wisdom He has given you. It has still been relatively quiet and different there from years past. Today the sun was shining in my face and something flew within 8-10 inches of my face. At first I thought it was a large insect, but then I saw it’s beak and recognized it as a hummingbird, but something was very strange about it. After it flew away I realized I had never seen that color before, but suddenly I thought…I couldn’t hear the buzzing of its wings beating. Then I remembered why I didn’t readily recognize it as hummingbird. I could actually SEE the wings flapping. They are usually going so fast you can only hear the wings and a blur of them moving too fast to see. I hiked up to the side lot and got one of the feeders and hung it on a branch by the river, thinking it needed fuel. The first time I saw a hummingbird at the river, I thought of you immediately. This time(because at first I thought it was an insect) I didn’t think of you until after I had brought the feeder down. I hope it doesn’t bother you that I have come to associate you with hummingbirds when I see them at the river. Again, I hope all is well with you, Matt, and your wife(not sure of spelling..I am thinking Glenna).

  20. SFDBWV says:

    Yes indeed I too offer a well deserved “here, here” to Bob for his coverage of the Paralympics for me and all of us here who are not able to see them.

    Thanks Bob!

    In fact had Mart not disclosed that there were such an event and Bob not been in place to be our eyes and ears for us, I would still not know anything of them.

    I am looking forward to an opportunity to see what of them I can and hopefully Matt as well.

    This is just going to be one of those *crunched* weeks for me where I have things that must get done while overcoming the obstacles that try and prevent me from doing so.

    His Sparrow, after I am able to have Matt watch some of the athletes perform he may have some thoughts on this matter and when he does I will share them all, even though by then the subject will have changed. As for now he competes against himself daily and of course the clock, he is a tough competitor and always trying to better his results.

    Narrowpathseeker, the little town I live in is along the North Branch of the Potomac River, its spring head only several miles upstream from here, but river enough to enjoy hearing it run especially when it’s up. We also have a small tributary to it that flows through town called Buffalo Creek, 900 feet of it is channeled in a levee and some walled and floored by concrete.

    Both are filled with trout from stocking by the DNR’s of both Maryland and WV, I especially enjoy seeing people fishing in the rivers as I remember a time when they ran red from mine acid drainage. Very little could live in the sulfur-oxide that results when water and the sulfur in the coal mines combine and flow out into the creeks.

    Because there have been a large effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, there have been years of attempts to clean up the rivers that flow into it.

    These rivers are a kind of living testimony that what may seem impossible can be possible if enough energy is put into over coming obstacles.

    I am flattered that you are reminded of me from the tiny little humming bird. They themselves are a testimony of overcoming many obstacles just to survive.

    There are still 3 remaining birds here and even though there are three feeders they still fight with each other over who gets to feed and when.

    I call them my little “Cherubs” as they buzz around from place to place and as you very accurately stated sometimes hover within a foot or two from me silent and curiously observing me, I like to think they are thanking me for the sugar water feeders.

    When they are in the hover mode they are silent, the buzzing only occurs when they fly forward or backwards. They build their nests in bushes that make it difficult for any would be predators to reach them, it appears like the ant that wisdom isn’t confined to just mankind.

    41 degrees this morning and clear skies in the mountains, a mist rising off the rivers.

    Steve, Matthew and Glenna

  21. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I assume there has been an issue with TV rights in US causing delayed access to TV feeds.
    I hope the networks manage to convey the atmosphere of the Paralympic games to you all.

    I am just watching the start of the Athletes Parade through the streets of London from Mansion House to Buckingham Palace.
    Over 90% of our Olympic & Paralympic athletes are on large floats with 100’s of thousands of people lining the streets 10 deep or more.
    Lord Coe, the organiser of London 2012, has just said a wheelchair bound girl helper said to him,
    “these games have lifted the cloud of limitation”.

    According to Paul we are above it all seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.
    Why are we waiting?
    We have no “cloud of limitation”.

    Bob

  22. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bob, I really liked your concluding paragraph about us having no cloud limitation. I’ve been thinking about that while listening to your stories of amazing feats by those with extensive handicaps. I am very able bodied for my age and still do heavy manual labor indoors and out. I DO thank God for my health, but far too often, I grumble because so many of my young adult family members think they are above the sweat and toil scene. Thanks to your many stories on the Paralympics, I’m going to try to remember to stop grumbling because they think I’m a “tractor” and try to move up to “bulldozer” indoors, outdoors, and in the spiritual realm.

    Steve, “my” river ALSO starts less than 5 miles from here. I just learned of that fact recently. We have brook trout as well as stocked trout and the kids fish there as does a big old Blue Heron sometimes. I haven’t seen him in awhile either. I drove through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel several years ago and it was frightening to me but the view was beautiful above ground. We camped in some campground but I can’t remember if it was in WV or VA, but that was also beautiful! I will have to ask my son in law..he may remember.

  23. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    narrowpathseeker,

    If you get the chance, try and watch the Wheelchair Rugby, often called murder ball.
    Four manic men on each team on wheelchairs similar to those used for the basket ball but reinforced and built literally like Bulldozers.
    Played very much like American Football with eight men bashing the **** out of each other, often knocking each other over.
    Another was an Italian Racing car driver who lost his legs in a crash a few years ago.
    He won Gold, road racing at Brands Hatch(a british old formula one circuit). He then got off his racing wheel chair and lifted into the air with one hand. Then with no legs, just stumps, pulled himself straight back on it again.

    I too get scared on those high tunnel bridge systems.
    They have a lot in Italy and one minute you are in the dark and the next you are 1000ft up flying through the air. I don’t like heights too much.
    Rather be a chicken than an Eagle.
    Thank God for Jesus!

    Bob

  24. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    He then got off his racing wheel chair and lifted *it* into the air with one hand.

  25. narrowpathseeker says:

    I have to check back up topways of this thread to see when it is going to be on TV here, but I will look out for the Wheelchair Rugby..thank you Bob. LOL on …you would rather be a chicken than an eagle! I didn’t like being under the ocean in a tunnel, I don’t like flying, and I don’t like boats all that much either on the ocean…just lakes and rivers. I love the ocean for riding the waves(I still body surf and sometimes on a big tube) and I enjoy being in a rowboat fishing close to the ocean shore. I went out in a boat to see fireworks on Chesapeake Bay at night years ago and it was a very very bad experience!! I WOULDN’T RATHER be a chicken than an eagle, but I guess I am of that sort.lol

  26. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I was just thinking of the story of the eagles egg that hatched out in a chicken pen and he thought he was a chicken scratching around on the ground.
    Then one day he started to flap his wings and realised he could flap higher than his chicken mates.
    He eventually discovered he could fly higher and higher.
    He could see what seemed like forever & if he carefully looked down he could just see the little chicken run that use to be his whole world before he realised he was an eagle & not a chicken.
    I didn’t say that too well, but that is really the gist of this topic.
    You don’t have to have a physical or mental disability to be disabled. You just need the mindset of a chicken, pecking around on the ground and sometimes flapping up on to a branch of a tree to get a glimpse of the world outside.
    When you have the mindset of an Eagle then the chicken coupe looks so puny and you wonder why you lived there so long when there is a vast world to soar above, observe and discover.
    That is what these incredible people, both Olympians & Paralympians, have done. They left behind the attitude of defeat and took on the mantle of winning.
    Takes guts & effort, but we can all fly like the Eagle.

    On that note… Andy Murray has just won the US Open in New York after years of trying and failing. The first Brit in 76 years since Fred Perry in 1936.
    Olympic Gold & now a Grand Slam.
    There is nothing that cannot be achieved when we set our will to do it.
    Set your will on Jesus Messiah & He will give you the Power to become sons of the Living God.
    My comfort zone is the chicken I thought I was.
    The reality is I can soar on wings like an Eagle because my Father told me who I really am and that is who he made me to be! A Winner in Christ!

    Bob

  27. SFDBWV says:

    Has anyone seen an actual schedule when these games may be on TV here in the USA? I have not been successful in finding out anything.

    Steve

  28. Mart De Haan says:

    Have been on the road for a couple of days. Flying home today. Will try to post something soon. Thanks Bob for the updates.

  29. His Sparrow says:

    Hi All

    Steve, Matthew, and Glenna
    I’ve only seen an online British newspaper with photos -I’m just now wondering if there’s some “You .Tube” personal videos online.

    …love the chicken and eagle story, Bob, so much what the Lord wants us to do.
    My favorite movie is “Chicken Run.” The claymation star hen is challenged that their escape from Mr Tweedy’s farm is something like one in a million…to which she replies “Then there’s still a chance.”

    In Isaiah 40, about Israel’s incomparable God, many of us are familiar with this passage, of course reading the whole chapter is better:

    Isaiah 40:31: KJ

    “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not be faint.”

    Thank you Lord, for the blessing of witnessing your Spirit work in and through your people.

    Love
    His Sparrow

  30. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I thought I saw a post on this thread of the time and network where they would be shown. I’ve scrolled up and down and don’t see it. I’m sorry, I must have misread, but if I find anything I will post it.

    Sparrow and Bob, I love analogies. They seem to make things click for me more clearly. The chicken and the eagle analogies turned on a light. Keeping that light on is another story……”but there is still a chance”…love it!

  31. poohpity says:

    Bob, just loved the analogy of the chickens and their little world and the eagles.;-)

    Steve, Sept 16th on NBC is all I found, there is also a NBC sports channel which I do not have that they can be seen on as well. There is supposed to be 4 one hour shows.

  32. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, thank you for the date and network.

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you pooh, I see it is on Sunday September 16 at 2pm until 3:30pm.

    Thanks
    Steve

  34. poohpity says:

    You both are very welcome. ;-)

  35. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    How on Earth are you going to see 11 full days of sport and two 3 hour ceremonies in 90 minutes?
    Not forgetting you have adverts every 10 minutes in the USA.
    They have media censorship in North Korea not the USA!
    I am not meaning to be critical of your culture but surely this must seem a little bit amiss to you?
    Maybe a few executive heads should roll.

    Bob

  36. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I will try and watch a live NBC feed on that day just to see what they allow you to see.

  37. poohpity says:

    Sure you are being critical if you did not it would not be you, lol!! It will be 4 one hour specials with the advertisements will run 1 1/2 hours. From what I read if you can believe what “they” say it was due to the Paralympic committee is the reason why and the cost to run them here. I agree it is so very sad. They will be edited down to probably just give the highlights. Did you see them last time Bob?

    “They” have said that it is being brought to light each year they have them so it will become a push from the citizens to want more coverage. I will be for the push, they have my vote. There has been a voice raised for the lack of coverage here so it will be different in the future, I have hope. :-)

    Come on Bob, I do not think it even begins to compare with the type of media censorship in North Korea or China. It would seem their censorship has to do with knowing what is going on around the world like what is fed in the middle east as well.

  38. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Yes we had full coverage of Sydney2000, Athens2004, Beijing2008, both Olympics & Paralympics. Not just our own countrymen but many others.
    The BBC covered the Olympics in London but the Para’s were covered by our commercial channel 4, they were sponsored by Telecoms and a large supermarket chain.
    It would seem the large US corporations were not willing to pay for coverage.
    NBC were the largest media presence at the Olympics then no coverage at the Para’s.
    It would seem the US corporations were not willing to sponsor coverage of disabled athletes.
    Please be aware that the large corporation control most of what we see, hear and do even to the point of choosing the presidential candidates for you to vote for.
    We have recently exposed corruption in our government, media & banks, so it seems no one is immune or can throw the first stone.
    Matthew 16:19 gives us the power to bind & release, so we need to pray more that God’s will is done!

    Bob

  39. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Complacency is the curse of democracy.
    People have fought hard and long and given up their lives for our freedoms.
    As Adam gave our freedom and authority over this world to satan when he sinned, let us not make the same mistake and allow big business and money to dictate our freedoms and our choices, whether it be TV schedules or who governs us. We must be vigilant!

  40. narrowpathseeker says:

    Claudia, you are blessed forever having had such amazing friends. Thank you for sharing that inspiring story.

  41. poohpity says:

    I have to say for myself I do not trust in governments, rulers, banks or any authority. I trust it all into God’s hands and believe that it all is allowed my Him. I fully believe in being vigilant about anything that is allowed into my mind and trust very few who feel they have power to dictate anything especially in giving my well being over to them. I trust in the Lord, all the rest can be brought, sold and corrupted as long as they are run by human beings.

  42. His Sparrow says:

    Hey Bob!

    You have a lot of extra time?

    You’re a great sports journalist with a dash of Heaven.

    Why not write for some publications, online or print, about the Paralympics? It needs to be covered all year round. Maybe they have or need a website writer-you could get them to start one and be the editor…

    or start your own and sell advertising…

    if that’s something you want, I’ll surely pray God opens the door.

    It could grow into news coverage so it wouldn’t be lost to the rest of the world (well, the U.S. anyway) and you could be the live reporter when the preceeding events and main event takes place.

    Love
    His Sparrow

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