Whether you’ve been a sports fan all your life or couldn’t care less about sports—you love the Olympics. The stories of the athletes overcoming personal struggle to fulfill one’s lifelong dream, emotional finish line moments, and the world coming together to celebrate victory.
Why do we love it? The competition? The sport? I think it’s a concept Brene Brown teaches in her new book, Braving the Wilderness, called “The Ministry of Presence.” Brown points out shared joy is a spiritual experience that unites everyone present. We may not be in South Korea but we’re captivated by the moment, waiting to celebrate athletes, and presence always unites us.
When I think about the Winter Games I think about endings that cannot be predicted and moments that are best experienced in real time. No DVR does Simone Biles’ Gold Medal justice. The Olympics are best watched live, as if you were there, because you feel connected to the competition in a way that we crave.
Maybe you’re not interested in the Olympics but you’ve felt this overwhelming sense of joy and connection at a concert, live musical, or championship game. This doesn’t have to be a feeling reserved for mountaintop moments.
Incorporate the ministry of presence into your relationships and day-to-day encounters by sharing joy and suffering with the people closest to you. Let your love for the Olympics overflow into loving your kids, your roommate, your neighbors, and your peers. The ministry of presence isn’t reserved for joy—suffering unites us as well. Here’s an excerpt from Braving the Wilderness:
“An experience of collective pain does not deliver us from grief or sadness; it is a ministry of presence. These moments remind us that we are not alone in our darkness and that our broken heart is connected to every heart that has known pain since the beginning of time.”
If you started 2018 defensive or maybe divided let the Olympics be the pivotal point where you choose unity, presence, and acceptance in your everyday encounters. Share in the joy of the athletes and celebrate victory, mourn loss, and feel the sense of pride that comes with being an American. We at The Grit and Grace Project invite you to create your own ministry of presence.
Photo from the Olympics main site.
You’ll also like Sweat and Sacrifices… Earning the Title of “Olympian”, Humanity Comes Alive When Disaster Strikes, Your Best Is Actually Good Enough, How to Live out of Your Strengths, Not Weaknesses, and How Can We Be the Bridge to This Great Divide?