Monday Musings for 8.10.20
Yesterday should have been the marathon and closing ceremonies for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. We will have to wait a year. COVID-19 got in the way, as it has gotten in the way of so many things this year.
The last time the Olympics were held in Tokyo was 1964. I was thinking about those Olympics as I was walking Saturday morning.
I have a scenic ten mile loop that takes me past Lake Lowell. Usually I am practicing Sunday’s sermon as I walk. This time, since we recorded on Thursday, I had no sermon to practice. Instead I timed myself to see how fast I could go.
That’s when my mind took me to the 1964 Olympics. The “world’s fastest human,” Bob Hayes won the gold medal in the 100 meter dash at those games. I remember watching. It was pretty exciting. I also remember a coach a few years later showing us a slow-motion close-up of Bob Hayes’ face as he ran that race. His facial muscles were relaxed. He was running as fast as anyone had ever run, yet he was running with no visible strain. The coach’s point was that we run faster when we relax, not when we tense up.
So, as I was doing my speed walking, I reminded myself to relax. Normally we think relaxing means taking a nap. Or at least taking it slow and easy. Not necessarily! We perform at our peak when we relax, not when we grit our teeth and try so hard.
Actually, in addition to the 1964 Olympics I was also thinking about my August 16 sermon. (I try to keep a week ahead, so it is already written.) I will suggest that Jesus was about the most relaxed person who ever lived. Remember the nap he was taking in the boat during the storm? He had the most important job in the history of the world and only three years to get it all done, yet there is no record of stress and strain in his life.
John Greenleaf Whittier wrote about this in that great hymn:
Drop the still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease; take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace.
Or if you prefer John Wooden:
Be quick, but don’t hurry.
PS: Bob Hayes is also the answer to a great trivia question: Who is the only person to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring?