I watched the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games in Vancouver, BC. I don’t think I have ever watched an opening ceremonies from start to finish. I did last night and was amazed at the pride I felt in being part Canadian. I know lots of people have been upset with the amount of money spent to put on these Games. I have heard there are groups protesting for many reasons and even stopping the flame from easily moving across the country and specifically last night through the streets. But even with all that protest I was reminded why these Games need to happen and why Vancouver, BC is the perfect location right now. It isn’t about perfection, it’s about heart, resilience and connection – and that rang through in so many ways for me watching the Games begin.
When I lived in Canada I spent many years working with the aboriginal people there. I was a family counselor and a trainer for community Drug & Alcohol and Family Violence counselors. Indeed there were many challenges facing the native communities. Each year a new group of students would arrive for training so that they could go back into their communities and help their people. The students often had to deal with their own history of abuse, alcoholism and victimization. Many of the stories shared were horrific and stirred my own sense of injustice and anger at the treatment of people with different beliefs then those in the majority. Canada’s treatment of their aboriginal peoples’ was not something most would think of as even possible based on the friendly, welcoming nature attributed to Canada in comparison to most of the other world powers. At some point through those years, the Canadian government took a much different stand regarding that history. Through acknowledging the suffering and pain inflicted by some of the government’s choices, followed by court actions, money and land distributions, they made an attempt to ‘right’ some of the ‘wrongs’. I’m not sure how well that really worked. But I did think last night watching the ceremonies open with such a grand acknowledgment of the tribes across Canada that many of the angry voices I had heard through the years screaming for acceptance of their ways and values most have been proud.
These Games started on a sad note. An athlete died on the opening day on a training run for the luge. I was moved by the moment of silence taken for a comrade who had fallen and the flags flying at half-mast. The silence of such a huge crowd and the faces shown of the athlete’s made it quite clear that each knew the dangers and the risk taken in any type of competition. In that sixty seconds there were no differences between nations, the common bond of our mortality was quite powerful.
I loved that the flame was not lit by one but by many. That moment when the fourth leg of the cauldron did not rise to provide perfect symmetry may have for some been a major error. However, I found it yet another significant meaningful touch. A reminder that life is not about perfection but about heart, resilience and connection. Those athletes did not get shaken and thankfully the plan was not designed for one but for a team. So yes there was that pause, just like there was that silent moment and the flags flying at half-mask, that crack in everything that adds depth and reality. Personally I liked that things did not go off without a reminder that all is not perfect in our world. Yet there is much to be celebrated, much to be enjoyed and with all of that the Games will go on!!! Even without the snow – these Games will go on. There will be many amazing moments and personally I think Canada will shine not just through it’s greatest but even in it’s imperfections. That really is life and something I think worth celebrating!!!
So let the Games begin!!