My Brother the Olympian

A reflection written by a guest blogger.

When my brother was born I was told that he would not be doing all the things that other children would do.  I watched him put forth a tremendous effort to take his first steps.  I watched him laboriously learn to write.  I watched him struggle and learn to read.

In the true spirit of an Olympian, he had tremendous will to push himself beyond the limits of his body.

After I left home, he continued his struggle to succeed.  And I can not begin to understand how he managed to get one degree in Business let alone the two he achieved.  But even after all that effort and achievement he was unable to obtain a job.  So he continued his struggle with his wonderful intellect trapped inside a limiting body.

As the years passed he struggled more and more from the physical and emotional injuries his disabilities inflicted.  I have asked myself many times, what was the point of this tremendous effort and pain?

When he was born I was told he would not be doing what most children do.  I thought for many years that meant he would do less.  But in reality, as an Olympian, he did much more than any of us could hope to achieve.

So I’ve asked again the question, “What was the purpose of my brother’s life?”

And now I finally know.  He was a teacher.  He taught by example as an Olympian.  To push the body beyond all reasonable expectation.  To push the mind relentlessly.  To push the spirit beyond pain and frustration, and through all of that, to push the heart where most of us would never go.

My brother the Olympian has left us a message.

He had great difficulty speaking.

He had great difficulty writing.

But he left us all, by example, a message in the purest way he could.  To be the most we can be.  To make the maximum use of the talents and abilities we are given.

My brother the Olympian was my ultimate teacher!

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