“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13
Headed into the 2022 Winter Olympics, U.S. women’s speed skater Erin Jackson had, undeniably, been the best. The world’s top-ranked competitor in the 500-meter long track event, she had proven she had what it took to challenge for a medal at the Games. However, had it not been for a selfless gesture, she wouldn’t have had that chance.
While competing in the 500 at the U.S. trials in January, Jackson slipped during her race and skaters Kimi Goetz and 3-time Olympian Brittany Bowe took the top two spots instead, thus qualifying for the Olympics. Jackson was devastated and, unfortunately, the rules said she wasn’t allowed to skate again. This race had been her bread-and-butter for the longest time and now, thanks to a slip, it looked like her Olympic dream was over.
Then, she got a call from Bowe saying she was willing to give up her spot so that Jackson could make the Olympic team and be able to compete. Bowe had other events she had qualified for, and had been to the Games before, so to her it was a no-brainer. “I didn’t want to have this moment without Erin there,” Bowe said, adding, “In my heart, there was never a question. … This is bigger than just me. This is the Olympic Games and it’s about Team USA and giving everybody the opportunity to showcase what they got.”
Jackson was touched, to say the least. When asked about the gesture, she replied, “It’s hard to even really put it into words. I’m beyond grateful and humbled.” And the rest of the world has been touched by Bowe’s selfless deed, as we’ve seen, once again, how a little kindness helps us all win.
When I first read this story, I felt like it begs the question: What lengths would you go to to help someone else? What would you be willing to give up in order to help another person reach their potential and their goals?
We’d all agree it’s a pretty selfish world out there and, within the competitiveness of sports, sometimes it’s easy to become self-absorbed with your own objectives and life becomes “every man for himself,” as they say. If you make it or you don’t, it’s not my responsibility. I’m going to get to the top and if you never do, well, that’s too bad. Brittany Bowe could’ve taken this approach, but she didn’t. She was willing to step aside because she cared more about Jackson.
You probably have teammates and co-workers and classmates and others in your life who are working hard to reach their own dreams. You see them putting in the time and the effort. You know who they are. But if it ever comes down to a moment when it’s your own dream and their’s on the line, are you willing to give them the chance you’ve wanted and may never get again?
In that moment, remember this: Your Savior made it clear there’s no length He wouldn’t go to in order to sacrifice for you — even His death on the cross. Love compels like nothing else. It all comes down to who you love the most — yourself or another.
— Katherine Singer
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