The Special Olympics World Games that were recently held in Los Angeles received a lot of great coverage on TV from ESPN. They told some amazing, heartwarming stories of people from around the world who have intellectual and physical disabilities, but they courageously face their challenges and do some impressive athletic feats.
Oliver Doherty has limited use of the left side of his body but he doesn’t let that stop him from playing golf. Using just his right arm, he drives the ball and putts better than most of us who use two hands. Kirk D. Wint from Jamaica got out of his wheelchair to compete in the 50 meter race. He is unable to stand on his feet so he uses his hands when he runs. He was still able to finish fourth.
Their stories are inspiring and encouraging. They are great examples of perseverance, even when it is hard. The athletes had people come alongside them to support and encourage them. They have faced big challenges all their lives, but they don’t give up. The TV commentators telling the stories of these special athletes admitted this was one of the most inspiring events they have ever been involved with.
I wonder what great stories might have been there, but they weren’t because they were aborted. When I watched athletes with Down’s Syndrome joyfully and skillfully compete, I thought of how it is estimated that 92 percent of women who find out that the baby they are carrying has Down’s Syndrome choose to have an abortion. Some of those babies might have been another swimmer or basketball player with an infectious smile and a heart full of enthusiasm.
The lives of those at the Special Olympics haven’t been easy, but they are glad they got to live them.
As celebrations were held over the lives of those at the Special Olympics, an article appeared in the news about somebody who wants to end lives. Katie Hopkins is a British TV personality and columnist. She made news recently by advocating that “euthanasia vans” be developed. She believes the vans should go to the homes of some of the elderly and infirm and bring them to an end. “We just have far too many old people,” Hopkins said. “It’s ridiculous to be living in a country where we can put dogs to sleep but not people.”
Let us celebrate human life – even if the life has special needs and serious illness and severe challenges. The Special Olympics athletes show that some of those who have faced the greatest trials can be great teachers about overcoming and enjoying life. Each life is knit together by God and fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). Instead of trying to end lives like Hopkins suggests, let us serve lives, learn from them and celebrate them.