Tuesday, April 6, 2021

E is for Eric

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter E 

                                                     Eric Liddell
                                                    Years lived before 1921: Nineteen
                                                    Years lived after 1921: Twenty-four

 Eric Liddell was an Olympic champion, and  a Christian Missionary who died in a Japanese internment camp. He is one of the two main characters of the 1981 film, Chariots of Fire.

Eric was born in and died in China.  In between he went to boarding school in London and college in Scotland.  He was a gifted athlete a 2 sport star (Rugby and Track) and played on Scotland's national Rugby team.  He made the 1924 Olympic team in track and field and was supposed to run in the 100m 200 m and 400m for the U.K.

It is some times hard to look at the past through the lens of the present and get the full meaning of the time period.  This is certainly the case for Liddell, who refused to run in the heats for the 100m (his strongest event) in Paris as they were on S said of hisunday.  Christians play sports on the Sabbath with regularity 97 years after Liddell's stand.  This in no way demeans his achievement or integrity.  He ended up winning the gold in 00m and the bronze in the 200m neither of which had heats scheduled on Sundays.  

When asked what his success was attributed to Liddell he responded ...

"The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then for the second 200m, with God's help I run faster."

This quote is actually very descriptive of how he lived his life.  After the Olympics he returned to China as a missionary, met and married a Canadian missionary and began raising his family and continued doing the work of a missionary.  The work of a missionary became more and more dangerous in China in the 1940's and Eric was sent to a Japanese internment camp.  He was able to send his wife pregnant with their third child and his first 2 daughters to Canada before that occurred.  His youngest daughter never met her father.

Though his life was short it was exemplary. Throughout his life people took notice of his moral excellence.  The headmaster of his boarding school described him as "entirely witout vanity". In the internment camp he was described by one internee  as "the finest Christian gentleman I ever had the pleasure to meet." and another went into long detail of how Liddell poured himself ito the lives of the young people at the camp to make their time less difficult.  Considering that Liddell died in the camp from a brain tumor and  that his life there was even more difficult because of his medical condition underscores his selfless behavior even more.

Liddell has been a role model and hero for me most of my life. I have been a runner and a missionary an educator and a father just like him.  In a pivotal scene in Chariots of Fire, Liddell falls down in a 400m race gets back up and ends up winning the race.  The biggest way I try to emulate Eric Liddell is that when I fall, I get back on my feet and with God's help I get right back in the race. 

A To Z Easter Eggs

 A to Z Archives: My Top 10 Favorite Movies of All Time.  at HSD. Not surprisingly Chariots of Fire is on this list.  

After you've looked at the additional content from my other blogs head back to the challenge and explore continue exploring.

1 comment:

Trudy said...

He is a fine example of integrity, for sure. Wonderful post!