A Triumph of the Human Spirit

What a moving experience watching the Paralympics in the Birds Nest this morning! I wasn’t expecting to be so touched by the athletic games. We watched several events – the discuss throw, shot put, 200m mens and womens wheelchair tricycle races were among several of the events (by the way, China won all the races I just mentioned)! What brought me to tears was watching the men’s 400m running race. All the competitors had to run with guides by their sides as they were all blind. Being a witness to how far they have come and what they were achieving was so inspiring.
We arrived at the Bird’s Nest at 9am this morning. What a stunning site seeing it in person and up close. By the time we got through the security lines and up to our seats, it was about 9:30am. The stadium was half empty but by 11am, most of the 160,000 seats were occupied. Hearing the whole crowd cheering was so energizing and amazing!
We watched several of the medal award ceremonies but the most moving of all was observing the 100m men gold finalist from Canada. The men all ran with one prosthetic leg in that particular race. As the National Anthem was played and the flag raised, the Canadian athlete was sobbing and covering his face and many in the crowd wept with him. In that moment I realized that receiving a gold medal in the Paralympics meant even more than any other medal because of all the loss, struggle and hardship they have had to endure. It was a joy to witness the triumph of the human spirit.
Thought of the Day: “In all things God loveth the highest excellence.” – Baha’u’llah

7 Comments

    Alexander M Zoltai September 14, 2008Reply

    I’m so glad Marilyn Higgins told me about you and so glad I have your blog in my RSS Reader.
    People can complain about China’s human rights abuses yet fail to see the value and importance of the Paralympics. In our world-in-transition, every right and proper action needs praise. Certainly we should never stop the drive to completely eliminate what’s wrong but, also, never let what’s wrong cloud what’s sweet and heavenly!
    Your post made me open my Ocean software and I found this quote:
    “…the prejudice and discrimination that disabled people suffer is the product of the more general human tendency to label as “inferior” those who are somehow different. But the ostracism that disabled persons often experience can be even more intense, for it is founded on fear — fear on the part of the ostracizer that he, too, may someday become the victim of disability. The only way to eradicate this fear is to educate every member of society to see disability for what it really is — a mental or physical condition that may make everyday life more challenging, but that cannot affect the disabled person’s soul, spirit, creativity, imagination or determination — in short, some of the most valuable aspects of life. At the same time, such an appreciation will enable individuals to see through the outward handicaps of disabled persons, to their inner reality.”
    (Baha’i International Community, 1988 Aug 06, Human Rights and Disability)

    Sarmad September 15, 2008Reply

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing — and the quote was incredible! 🙂

    Nadia September 15, 2008Reply

    thanks a lot for this quotation!

    Elika September 15, 2008Reply

    Dear Alexander, thank you for enlightening us and sharing such a beautiful and profound quotation. It is so true that education is of the utmost importance for every member of the human race to see the inner reality of every individual regardless of their outer appearance. It truly was an honor to be a witness to such excellence yesterday and to see every participant triumph just by being part of the Paralympics. It’s also a reminder to appreciate all the gifts that God has given us and to use them to our fullest capacity.
    Hi Nadia and Sarmad – I’m glad you enjoyed the quotations. Yes – they are very moving.

    jaleh September 15, 2008Reply

    So Lovely to hear of the triumphs of the Human Spirit that many don’t even know it exists. Most of the time we walk around as if all we have are our physical aspects and depend on them, whereas we are inherently spiritual beings having a physical experience in this world and it is these wonderful souls who are really our teachers…

    jaleh September 15, 2008Reply

    So Lovely to hear of the triumphs of the Human Spirit that many don’t even know exists.
    Most of the time we walk around as if all we have are our physical aspects and depend heavily on them, whereas truly we are inherently spiritual beings having a physical experience in this world and it is these wonderful souls who are really our teachers…
    Reminds me of the quotation by Baha’u’llah that you have beautifully put into music that says:
    Ye are even as the bird which soareth, with the full force of its mighty wings and with complete and joyous confidence, through the immensity of the heavens, until, impelled to satisfy its hunger, it turneth longingly to the water and clay of the earth below it, and, having been entrapped in the mesh of its desire, findeth itself impotent to resume its flight to the realms whence it came. Powerless to shake off the burden weighing on its sullied wings, that bird, hitherto an inmate of the heavens, is now forced to seek a dwelling-place upon the dust. Wherefore, O My servants, defile not your wings with the clay of waywardness and vain desires, and suffer them not to be stained with the dust of envy and hate, that ye may not be hindered from soaring in the heavens of My divine knowledge…

    Elika September 21, 2008Reply

    Thanks Jalehjoon for continually sharing your insights. So lovely to hear your thoughts. Lots of love to you.

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