Saturday, August 9, 2008
The Olympic Games Are Open
How many of you watched the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing? I admit I was glued from beginning to end. The site of all those young people with the ancient drums mesmerized me with their synchronization. I loved the ballet artists painting as they danced, and the artistry of the Tao chi. I loved the costuming and fireworks. It was all amazing, and I found myself being sincerely happy for the Chinese people.
I was fortunate to have been able to attend an Olympic event outside of Atlanta back in 1996, the kayak and whitewater events in Chattanooga. I remember how genuinely connected the people were, yet from all over the world. We all sat there as one audience. When one athlete suffered a mishap, it didn't matter where he or she was from, what mattered was their safety. Were they okay?
A group of Slovenian nationals sat immediately behind my friends and me. Slovenia had recently separated from Czechoslovakia, and there were Czech Republic nationals near us as well. The Slovenians couldn't remember their national anthem, so they sang the old Czech anthem. The Czech visitors joined them, and it was truly a moving moment, that transcended the long security checks that had preceded the start of the games and the $5.00 Cokes!
For a brief moment, the world seemed very small. Not small in the way the Internet makes it small, but small in the way God made it small. The same God that I worship here in the United States is the same God that created the rest of the world, and some would say, long before He created this little part of it. What I am trying to say is, that in that moment, that brief little moment, the brotherhood of man was not just a noble idea, but it was reality. If only that reality existed between Olympic games, wouldn't that be a wonderful thing?