by Steve Goodier
At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, the sport of canoe racing
was added to the list of international competitions. The favorite
team in the four-man canoe race was the United States team.
One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.
As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill's
wife would give birth to their first child about the time that the U.S.
team would be competing in the Paris games. In 1924 there were
no jet airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow ocean
going ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go
to Paris and risk not being at his wife's side when their baby was
born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain with his family?
Bill's wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, competing in the
Olympics was the culmination of a life long dream. But Bill felt
conflicted and, after much soul searching, decided to withdraw
from the competition and remain home, where he could support
his wife when the child arrived. He considered being at her side
his highest priority, even higher than going to Paris to fulfill his dream.
As it turned out, the United States four-man canoe team
won the gold medal in Paris. And Bill's wife was late in giving
birth to their child. She was so late, in fact, that Bill could
have competed in the event and returned home in time to
be with her when she gave birth.
People said, "What a shame." But Bill said he had no regrets.
For the rest of his life, he believed he had made the better decision.
Bill Havens knew what was most important to him. Not
everybody figures that out. And he acted on what he believed
was best. Not everybody has the strength of character to say
no to something he or she truly wants in order to say yes to
something that truly matters. But for Bill, it was the only way
to peace; the only way to no regrets.
There is an interesting sequel to the story of Bill Havens...
The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom
they named Frank. Twenty eight years later, in 1952, Bill
received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki,
Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The
cablegram read: "Dad, I won. I'm bringing home the gold
medal you lost while waiting for me to be born."
Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United
States in the canoe racing event, a medal his father had
dreamed of winning but never did. Like I said, no regrets.
Thomas Kinkade eloquently said, "When we learn to say
a deep, passionate yes to the things that really matter,
then peace begins to settle onto our lives like golden
sunlight sifting to a forest floor."
Steve Goodier is an author and speaker. You can visit
his website by going to: http://www.lifesupportsystem.com
Creation Q & A