For the past couple of weeks I have often found myself glued to the television watching the different events of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. There is something so compelling about watching athletes from all around the world compete with each other for medals. These young people have worked so hard and often they have only a few minutes in which to complete a race, ski down a mountain or skate on ice. All of these athletes have such determination and skill.
My favorite events are figure skating and ice dancing. The skaters have not only worked on their strength and athletic abilities but have also perfected grace and elegance. As I watched them, I recalled the time I took my five-year-old daughter, Grace, to the local ice rink with some friends of hers. I had not been on a pair of skates since I was about her age and had a vague memory of gliding around the ice with my childhood friend. After I made sure that Grace had her ice skates laced up I put my own on and then we headed towards to the rink. Grace took to the ice immediately. I stepped out and realized that my balance was all off and I was surely going to end up falling on my backside. So I grabbed the rail of the rink and hung on for dear life. After a few minutes of this, I tiptoed back to the bleachers and removed the skates. When Grace asked me why I was not skating, I told her I wanted to have the opportunity to watch her. I did not have the heart to tell her that her mother was a total loser on the ice!
So what makes me so critical of all those skaters that I see while watching the Olympics? From where I am sitting, it is so easy for me to agree with the television commentators as they point out the little mistakes that a skater can make while performing before the Olympic crowds. And when these amazing skaters attempt one of their jumps and end up falling, I can almost feel superior to them. Really, what were they doing, that they could not complete a “simple” salchow or a lutz or an axel jump? But then the ghost of my past emerges in my mind and I am reminded that I was such a klutz, that I could not even simply skate across the ice, and I am humbled.
How often do we find ourselves critical of another? Sometimes, we can be quick to see the faults of others, forgetting that we, too, have our fair share of them. At times, it might seem so easy to judge someone and place him or her in our self-made idea what is expected or acceptable. Surely, it is easier to be the judge who issues the Gold Medal than to be the one judged. Yet, when we act this way we are more liable to lose our balance and end up falling down. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves daily that God has the job of judging, not us, and because of his love for us, we already know that we are all winners!