Everyone Brings Something to the Table

As the Olympics are going on in Rio right now, I am amazed and awed by the dedication of all the athletes from all over the world. I can’t imagine the hours, days, weeks, months and years of training they have all had, and how focused they are. Imagine all the parties, dances, road trips, and so on they have missed because they chose to train each day to do their personal best. I think of the dedication of their parents and mentors, who have made it their business to nurture and encourage these talented young men and women.

Just imagine what it takes to decide to give all your time and effort to be the best you can be, all the training it takes to stay focused. Not to mention all the sacrifices that they and their families make daily in order for them to even qualify for the Olympics. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that kind of commitment. You’ve got to really love what you’re doing to put the rest of your life on hold to be an Olympian.

So what about the rest of us? What of our struggles, commitment, and the hard work we do? How about all those people who decide that they want to have children? Now there is a commitment that lasts until your last breath. I think it must be a lot like being an Olympian; sacrifice, training, strength of body, mind and soul; all of that plus the knowledge that each and every day you are responsible for lives other than your own.

What about our service men and women and their dedication to keeping our country safe? What about our police men and women? Our firefighters and teachers, our nurses, doctors, EMTs, and all medical people?  What about our veterinarians, who help keep our beloved pets healthy and strong? What about the farmers who provide food, the truckers who deliver it, the shopkeepers, the postal workers, the garage mechanics who figure out what’s wrong with our vehicles?

And there are so many more ‘valuable players’ out in the world that help make our lives better in so many ways. We may not all be Olympians, but we are all integral to this world we share together.

This makes me think: what do we each bring to the table each day? Of course not everything that we do is a life-changing event, but what we do does affect others around us. I remember a time when I was in one of the fabulous Gallerias in Dallas, TX. A friend and I had shopped our brains out, and we stopped to get a coffee. As we stood there with all our bags, purses, hot coffee and sore feet, we soon realized that all the tables in the food court were full. I was so tired I felt I could sit right down on that sticky floor and go to sleep. My friend nudged me, and I looked up to see a table of three women waving at us.

We walked over, and one of the women said, ‘here, take our table. We’re just leaving.’ We thanked them profusely, and we all smiled at each other. As my friend and I enjoyed getting off our feet and sipping our coffee, we marveled at how kind some people are. Once we finished our coffee and starting collecting our things, we noticed a small family looking around for a table, their arms loaded with a huge diaper bag, a squirming baby, a toddler, and two trays of food. We waved them over, saying, ‘we’re just leaving; please take our table.’

Every one of us has a place at the table we call Life. Everyone is here for a reason. Everyone of us has a purpose and a life mission (whether we realize it or not), and everyone of us is valuable. Getting through the many challenges and tests we have during our lifetimes can often be an Olympic effort. We may never wear a gold medal for our country, but I like to think that we may have one waiting for us on the other side, signifying that we did our best.

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