Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cheering at Special Olympics

BYU holds a Special Olympics every year for people with special needs to participate in activities with each other. It was SUCH a great experience.
Service always has meant a lot to me. Here in college I have learned that this time of my life is so selfish, it's also such a great time to also give and there are so many chances all over. When giving ourselves (whether it be time, money, talents, etc) we are serving the Savior and in turn bettering ourselves as we become more like Christ because we are acting like He would.
Sometimes its hard to serve because there are other things we rather be doing, better things we believe we could be doing with our time, but we have been promised that we will feel better, be happier, and again become LIKE Christ when we reach out to others. When we WIllingly do this, we can return to Him. We are being tested for how we use our time in bettering ourselves or helping others. We are so blessed and have so much to give whether we think so or not.

In the Special Olypmics at BYU, I went to the front desk and asked how I could help. The person directed my to a spot on one of the four soccer fields and said "we need more people to cheer and help on the sidelines if soccer balls go out." I watched a game with about fifteen children of all ages with Downs Syndrome. Me, and a ton of other people were cheering, but when you listened everyone was cheering for every child on that field. It didn't matter whoever won, I don't even know if they were keeping score. I do know that every kid was out there not caring how their team did, but just wanted to have fun and feel accepted.
These kids were so kind as they helped each other up from falling, pass the soccer ball to others, and had such a great time even if they were losing. There was one point I looked around all four fields and I felt tears in my eyes because the sounds you could here was pure cheering. This I'm sure really impacted the kids as they were encouraged and heard these uplifting voices and uplifting calls, even if they weren't directed toward them.
By half time I learned a majority of the names on the field and even though I wasn't directly talking with them, I really felt more of a connection with them. I encourage you when you serve with others around you, learning the names of those you serve makes such a great difference.

It reminds me of our lives and how we need to recognize more of what's happening around us. Sometimes are we taking things too seriously and not seeing others around us who might be hurting or are dying for a friend or some attention? Are we being too focused on ourselves instead of lifting someone else up? Are we putting others down instead of bringing them up?
I tell you, I learned so much from these kids even though I was the volunteer helping out. I didn't get the chance to sit down and talk with anyone directly from these games but cheering them on and observing how they treated these games opened my eyes.
Some ideas I had learned this weekend for serving:
1) Really take time to get to know the names of those you are serving,
2) forget yourself and serve even if it's not making a significant impact,
3) look more outward and help those around you

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