Raw Reflections from the Journey

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Letter to Lance

Dear Lance,

Your public confession was a good start.  Now, just as you mastered the art of persevering through the multiple and varied stages of a Grand Tour, will you finish what you've begun?

You called your behavior scary, your thinking sick, and admitted that you've bullied many . . . all out of a driven ruthlessness to "win".  This may be the most difficult race of your life, and as you've said before, it's not about the bike but rather your legacy as a man, a father and friend. The word 'ruthless' connotes harm to others.  I hope you will be tenacious rather than ruthless on this journey.

Recovery from a position such as yours is not without precedent.  Christian Church history tells the tale of a man named Saul who pursued and condoned the death of many.  But eventually he did an about face and became one of the foremost champions and promoters of the very faith he persecuted.  Years of exile followed his alleged conversion because few trusted him. He'd harmed far too many too badly.  But eventually he won not only a clear conscience, but also the love and trust of those who'd previously despised him.

Only three paragraphs in and I got religious on you.  Sorry.  You say you don't like that.  Perhaps you have allergies to religion for good reasons?  Many do.  But could I urge you to reconsider; to try to get to know Jesus as He really is and not who you think He is or who others have misrepresented Him to be?  Some transparent and broken men have written a great book to make such an introduction to Him, and to provide a practical guide for the grueling journey of life.  I hope you will peruse it: The Cure.

Lance, your dominance in the Tour de France was remarkable.  Doping aside, you were a master strategist who understood the race, and the tactics it took to prevail.  Now, embarked on a very difficult journey, please pursue the only world religion with the answers you need, because it is the only religion with answers of forgiveness and freedom from guilt.  If you want more, search for what Billy Graham has said on this subject, or better yet, hear from the man himself.  He is still among us.  Presidents since Nixon have sought him for good reason.

Many are guessing and judging your motives for these interviews.  Only you and perhaps your legal team knows the true motives.  But for my money (and perhaps she has begun to get your attention), Kristin has it right in her advice, "The truth will set you free".  That applies to much more than confession.  It also refers to what many believe to be absolute truths that you can bet your life on.

The tears in your eyes as you talked about your children, especially your conversation with Luke, "Don't defend me anymore, Luke" was heartbreaking.  Please do this process well, Lance.  Perhaps you've come off the pedestal in your little boy's eyes, but you can get up there again by getting on your knees in humility.  I hope you're serious about spending the rest of your life apologizing, asking forgiveness, and making amends to those you've harmed.

Lance, I would love to do some therapy with you, and/or serve as a spiritual mentor/director.  Why?  Because the essence of your diagnosis in my mind is megalomania, and that's something I know about from personal experience.  It's an awful sounding word, but it gets the gist of what you've been about, and what many of us have been about when we put ourselves at the center of our own lives, and justified any means necessary to get what we want.

Humility to confess is a beginning, but this is one saga that your strength and tenacity won't win alone.  You need help from beyond yourself.  Some of that help may come in human form, but some will necessarily be Divine.

Do I forgive you?  I have to, for myself, because unforgiveness is one of two things that the human soul can't bear (the other is guilt).  And that's where forgiveness begins, as a decision to not hold something against another or to try to exact 'justice'.  It's not my place.  Plus, those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Can you and will you forgive yourself?  And will you truly come to the end of yourself so that you can come to the beginning of God?  I would offer that as your only true hope to "win" this race the rest of your life.

You're a strong man, Lance.  And that's a liability when it comes to the humility necessary to live a life of remorse and restitution.  Again, it takes one to know one.

If you really do this in a sincere and deep way it will likely be one hard stage after another.  But as you said in "It's Not About the Bike", your life is about one long hard climb.  Well, you were prophetic, because you've put yourself in quite a hole.  But don't believe for a second that you can't climb out.  Just don't try to do it alone.

Please do this right!  While the world revealed its hunger for a hero by following your 'miraculous' comeback from cancer, and amazing athletic domination, what the world really needs from you now is genuine testimony of the power of grace and a humble story of redemption!

God bless, and Carpe diem!

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