I’m sitting here trying to figure out what words I can possibly say to adequately describe Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s contribution to our world. How can we begin to honor her life “enough” for all that she did to bring dignity, celebration, and hope to over three million Special Olympics athletes and their families?
When I think about how it all started in Mrs. Shriver’s backyard with a handful of people challenged with intellectual disabilities, I am reminded of the scripture that says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Regardless of your theology, religion, or beliefs, if you ever had the opportunity to talk with Mrs. Shriver, you would find it hard to deny that she was prepared by God to better the lives of those who to this day suffer unjustly because of their disability. Mrs. Shriver was a woman of faith, a woman of prayer, and perhaps the only way to adequately describe her life’s noble work is “God-given.”
Today, a television reporter asked me if I thought Special Olympics would change now that our founder is gone? I told him I thought the light she provided while alive will burn even brighter. You see, Special Olympics from Mrs. Shriver’s perspective was never about her – but always about that one athlete in any town or village living in the shadows, standing on the sidelines, waiting for the chance to be included. Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s legacy will live on brightly in the face of any child or adult who will for the first time because of the Special Olympics movement participate in sport and see themselves differently. SHE was always about THEM and thanks to her work, we have a greater understanding that THEY are US.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver made our world a better place. We will miss her and will forever be grateful to her.