I just had to share this timely story from my morning devotions by Dr's. Les and Leslie Parrott...
"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out." - Walter Winchell
“On this day in 1936, American track-and-field star Jesse Owens was on a course to win the long jump at the Olympic games in Berlin, Germany. After all, he had set three world records in one day in 1935. He had a running broad jump record of 26 feet 8¼ inches that would stand for twenty-five years. But at one crucial moment in his career he needed the encouragement of a friend, and just about the unlikeliest person stepped up to be that friend."
"As he walked to the long jump pit to make his jump for qualification, Owens saw a German competitor taking practice jumps—in the twenty-six-foot range. Owens, fully aware of the racial tension caused by his presence, was nervous. He knew about the Nazis’ desire to prove Aryan superiority, and here was a German who looked quite capable of doing just that.
Fumbling under the pressure, Owens made his first jump from well beyond the takeoff board—a foul. Then he fouled the second attempt. One more, and he would be disqualified from the event.
"It was at that point that the tall
German approached Owens. He introduced himself as Luz Long and proceeded to talk to Owens for a few minutes. Lest you miss the significance, remember that this was the black son of a sharecropper and the white German, in Nazi Germany, chatting in view of the entire stadium. What were they saying?
Long had recognized Owens’s skill and, apparently, his nerves. He pointed out that Owens could easily jump the qualifying distance, so he suggested starting several inches before the takeoff board, to avoid a fatal third foul."
"Taking Long’s advice, Owens qualified easily, going on to set an Olympic record and earn the second of four gold medals during the 1936 Olympics. And the first person to congratulate Owens was Luz Long in full view of Adolf Hitler."
"At the beginning of World War II, a paragon of Germany’s strength offered technical assistance and words of encouragement to someone who, according to the rules of the game, was technically a foe both on and off the field. Owens never saw Long again, because Long was killed in the ensuing war. But he never forgot him. “You could melt down all the medals and cups I have,” Owens later wrote, “and they wouldn’t be plating on the twenty-four-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long."
"This unlikely friendship demonstrates an invaluable lesson in close connections: When someone goes out of the way—regardless of what others may think or say—to put our interests above his or her own, that person is sure to earn our affection and loyalty. How much more so for marriage!"
This story is from - The One Year Love Talk Devotional for Couples by Les and Leslie Parrott #jesseowens #love #friendship #encouragement #riseabove #peace #Olympics