Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of Christian spirituality and sport.
Hearts that shine
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”-Ezekiel 36:26
It was another scary, sobering sight in sport. This time, the collapse happened in American football in the popular National Football League (NFL). Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin, suffered a cardiac arrest while his team competed against the Cincinnati Bengals. As he lay on the field being resuscitated, family, friends and fellow players could only hope that the worst-case scenario did not take place before their very eyes.
Credit goes out to the medical team, the respective coaches and everyone else who showed real poise in a moment of genuine crisis. Hamlin eventually got to the hospital later that day and spent just over a week there, improving slowly but surely.
This was a resurrection of sorts, a literal restoration of life at death’s door. And humanity shone through brilliantly. On the side, Hamlin’s benevolent toy drive went from about US $2900 to over US$ 8 million in a few days! While he fought for his life, his GoFundMe initiative itself found new life. The generosity of spirit shown by various donors was a clear reminder of the divine nature within us.
Additionally, there was the profound and stunning act of compassion and courage by ESPN host Dan Orlovsky who prayed for Hamlin live on TV! Media reports suggest that a video of Orlovsky’s prayer has been viewed by over five million people. Keep in mind that outward expressions of faith in sport can be controversial in the US.
As an eternal optimist this entire episode gives me hope. There is enough despair all around us that we could easily wallow in despondency. Yet, as Ezekiel 36 above reminds us, inner transformation is possible. By grace, we can see hard hearts transform into depositories of love and warmth. Life can still be awesome. People can still be a source of trust, comfort and joy. Planet Earth can still be a place of beauty and majesty. I believe. Do you?
Supporters of Damar Hamlin recently showed us humanity at its best.
Hospitality that transcends
You would be amazed how life-changing one hospitable act of grace can be.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.