OK, so I know I can’t speak for the world as a whole, but the spirit of the Olympics should. What a wonderful two weeks, hosted by my home-away-from-home, England. For those of you who don’t know, my husband is a Brit…and I love England and everything about it (though Texas beef is better), so I can’t help but be filled with pride for the amazing show London put on for the world over the past 17 days. Even the English weather cooperated!
The Olympics are all about global togetherness and truly bring meaning to the phrase, “It’s a small world.” Yes, the world is small, even in my own tiny realm. You could throw a dart at a map and be hard-pressed to hit a country my husband or I haven’t set foot on. As a child, my passport was full because of my dad’s occupation. I’ve lived in the Philippines, been on the island of Guam and visited Hong Kong all before the ripe old age of five. I learned to eat with chopstick as a little kid in a floating Hong Kong restaurant and greeting the Vietnam vets as they arrived back on a U.S. Air Force base overseas.
My youngest stepchildren’s mother is American, but born in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo)…the child of missionary parents. My oldest stepchildren and in-laws are in England and the youngest stepchildren, who now live in the U.S., were born on the island of Gurnsey and in Leicester, respectively. They lived with their mother and went to school at the international school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 2004-2008 and have friends from around the world. Just inside our personal walls, the world seems to shrink immensely.
My mom’s parents’ first language was Polish…I can’t even pronounce one word. My husband works for a Japanese company. My Japanese is better than my Polish (and that’s not saying much). I studied Spanish in school and taught myself French before a two week solo trip to Paris. You get the idea. Point is, the world really isn’t as big as we think…it’s only as big as we allow it to be and I think that’s only the beginning of what the Olympics represent. In the past two weeks, I’ve cheered for my home country, the good old USA. I’ve cheered for the UK, obviously. I’m an Anglophile, I’m a Francophile, I’ve cheered for Russia, Italy, Jamaica, Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa, Belarus, Norway and Malaysia. I’m American by birth, half Polish due to my mom’s heritage and mostly German on my dad’s side. I’m married to a Brit, who is now an American who further claims “Texan” as a nationality (as he should!). Some of our closest friends are from Iran, France and Brazil…add to that Cuba, Australia and Denmark…and that’s just my household. Really…it is a very small world every day, not just once every four years. Stop and think about it. Who do you know? How small is your world?
As I watched the closing ceremonies tonight, my heart swelled (as it always does). Why can’t this be our daily way of interacting country to country? Friendly competition and a global party. Maybe we need to have a few judges on the sidelines keeping us in check and making sure we follow the internationally accepted rules of competition (reserving political commentary here). It’s a beautiful thing to see competitors consoling those of opposing countries who have fallen short of their goals, as we saw in the men’s diving arena, rather than building bombs to threaten them or take them out and at the end of the day. Rather than killing citizens for stating they’re unhappy with the way a country is run, we should, as a worldwide community, work to celebrate our global accomplishments by walking onto a field of glory and celebrating together; music blaring, confetti falling and fireworks ablaze in triumph as a world united. Nearly the very definition of utopia.
Ahhh…the London cauldron…it may not have stood as tall as some, but was among one of the most meaningful and beautiful. The world carried in and placed their individual copper petals on the sculpture, which joined in a universal flame as the games commenced. The cauldron was not lit by one, but many…the future of the Olympic games. Before it was extinguished, which always melts me in tears, it again separated into its individual flames representing the participating teams’ journey home, each returning to their country with their unique inscribed petal, a part of that universal fire and a lasting symbol of global togetherness. Once again…well done UK. If only the world were that simple in coming together. The Brits did the opening and closing ceremonies just right and couldn’t have represented their history and culture any better. Further, I can’t say many can rival them in the music world. No one does music like the Brits. Sorry, my American musicians…I love you too, but don’t lie and say you weren’t influenced from across the pond!! To prove my point, my most favorite song and one of the most poignant in the world, was written by a Brit and played (rightfully so) in the closing ceremonies. Tell me…can any words define the moment, what the Olympics represent and what we should be as a global entity better than those John Lennon wrote?Imagine there’s no heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today… Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace… You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will be as one Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world… You may say I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will live as one I rest my case…. Thank you, London!!
Congrats to all!!