At our house, we’ve been glued to the T.V. every night watching the incredible athletes in Rio live out their dreams for the world to see. It’s been stressful and very exciting on the Gornto couch as we make predictions, listen to their stories, cheer them on and either relish in victory or feel the pain of defeat.
We are captivated by the incredible stories of sacrifice, courage and determination.
Watching the individual sports is so different from cheering for a team. You’re cheering for one person. A person who has trained for this moment for four years and in some situations, their entire life. The stakes are so high and the pressure is unimaginable. A perfect swim or gymnastic routine means a ruckus celebration. But one mistake, just one mistake can cause a devastating loss.
And it’s all over their faces.
For the most part, they are solemn and focused, without a hint of emotion. . . until they finish. But not Simone Biles. There was a lightness to her step and a smile on her face. Yes, she was focused. Of course she was determined, and her adrenaline was skyrocketing, but she was at peace.
That arena, that mat. . . that is her jam.
But I watched Aly walk off the mat, after she finished her stunning routine, and fall into the arms of the waiting Simone, completely overcome with emotion. Simone held her for a moment, then took a step back and said, “Not yet. I’m not going to cry yet.” Then Simone took the floor and nailed every move in the routine of her life. Then finally, the two were able to let it all go together. It was over.
They did it!
That moment will forever be imprinted on my mind, the moment Simone was present for her friend while holding the boundary she needed to get them both to the moment they’d been training, working, and sacrificing for. That moment was the mark of the maturity it takes to love well. If she would have let herself become distracted by emotion after Aly’s final routine, it would have been a loss for them both.
As evidenced by this image, Aly completely understood.
Sometimes loving well looks like taking care of yourself, taking your oxygen first. You might need to hold a temporary boundary with a loved one to create the space and clarity you need to get where you both know you really want to go, even if they don’t understand at first. Those are the moments that can change everything. Love doesn’t always look like smiles, sunshine and roses.
Sometimes love looks like protection, hope and perseverance.
Love never fails.
to more love,