I've been glued to the TV watching the Olympics these past few weeks. I LOVE "The Games"! I can't even explain the excitement my family and I have as we watch each event, game, and match. The thrill is so energizing and even more so because we know it'll be four more years until we get to witness these amazing athletic gods and goddess.
Today a story came on about a Swedish Olympian, Eric Liddell. Eric Liddell's story, was made into the film, Chariots of Fire. He was a runner who took gold in the 1924 Olympics and then devoted his life to teaching and missionary work in China.
I have seen the movie, but it's been YEARS! I'm not that old, but I remember watching it as a kid once maybe twice. I didn't put the movie and the name together until today as I watched his amazing story on NBC.
His Olympic story is incredible! His success as an athlete is amazing. But what really made an impact on me was this man's integrity and character. His story is one worth learning about. As you read his story you'll get some back history on him and why he was in China and what he was doing there when he was put into a Japanese prison camp in 1943. I'm not going to ramble on and tell you his story....I can do it no justice. Click the links and read his story!
NBC had interviewed one of his daughters and some other people that were in the prison camp with him. They talked about him with such peace and honor. I could see in their eyes their love for him. One woman's interview stood out. She was a child in the camp and described how horrible it was. There were families in there, Chinese as well as other nationalities all living together in filth and desperation. But she told how Liddell create a routine, traditions, connections and bonds. He helped these children and families survive through simple traditions!! She said it gave them a sense of peace and something to look forward to in these horrible conditions. His guidance through these traditions gave them hope, and they felt reassured and secure because as they suffered in this camp they still felt like they had "something". They had a traditions and routines to keep them close together and ultimately helped them survive until the Americans came to the rescue.
Sadly, Liddell died in the prison camp from a brain tumor five months before they were liberated, but his story lives on quietly and powerfully to those who hear his message and inspiration. I'm a believer in traditions and how they can heal and bond a family...and even a prison camp. There is truly a power in traditions and story.