What makes the Olympian so wonderful is not their achievement so much, though it is remarkable—to be remarked on. What makes the Olympian so magnificent is that what they are doing is nakedly, vulnerably natural—expressing pure desire and the surrender of one’s being to that desire. A baby without the physical strength to achieve a record will express as much desire, nakedly, vulnerably, with the desperation of hope and the courage to express it. That baby will express as much desire as an Olympian; and the child will continue to do so until desire is snuffed out or twisted into the limitations of a world that likewise depresses desire, as much as it purports to admire it.
The Olympian reminds us of the forgotten place within us that remains our own, even now. But we left it. We left it to fit in, dull pain, or get along. We left it to follow the limits that were assigned to us by mortals who were afraid of their own inborn greatness, so fearful that they would not risk vulnerability to affirm what is every child’s inborn makeup. The inborn makeup is to render our selves over to the champion’s sacrifice, to give all we have to the lives we seek as an expression simply of being fully alive. The sacrifice is not what we have been taught, a painful loss to have something. Rather, the true champion’s sacrifice is the inborn free expression of the sacred desire within us to give ourselves completely to the mission of life.
The Olympian and the child are the same person, one who nakedly and vulnerably gives themselves to the pure desire to live completely, which we sadly have labeled remarkable. The Olympian needs to remind us of the greatness that is within us all, to be risked again as we move from the shadows of minimizing hope to the full light of being willing to fail with full-hearted hope and the desire it ignites. However, we use the Olympian to mark our own mediocrity, instead of joining with them to celebrate God’s creation. We make them gods and thereby harm them. We make ourselves merely human and thereby harm ourselves.
We could recognize the Olympians as humans who have reclaimed the desire of the child, followed it as an endowment of creation and Creator, and grown up fully to remind us all of who we are made to be and what we are made to do. We are made to live the same path.