WOW!!! I have to be honest, I did not know that I would feel this way about the Olympics. Living here you see all the political controversy that an event like this brings to your community. There has been times when I have felt unsure about the benefits that the Olympics would bring.
Like many localities we have issues and problems that need attention and finances...but with the planning of the Olympics for the last 10 years those issues have seemed to take a back seat.
Things like education, medical services, affordable housing for the homeless, as well as housing for the mentally ill.
I want to take this moment to share just a few examples I know of that spurred my unsure nature about this time....
Last summer this province saw a heat wave like no other, and with a lot of our forests being destroyed by the pine beetle it was dry and primed for some ferocious forest fires. Due to the up coming Olympics, funding had been cut for firefighting relief this past summer. So we were ill-equipped to fight the massive extend of forest fires that roared through our interior. You may remember in an earlier post I mentioned my girlfriend’s brother who was found at work with fatal stab wounds. It was determined that they had been self afflicted and though he experienced a miraculous recovery from his wounds there was not a much needed bed open for him in the Psyche Ward and he is now on a waiting list and has been sent home. The beds are full due to the “street clean up” of the mentally ill that live there, on our streets, because of lack of proper housing for them.
When our Olympic bid was accepted there was a promise of an increase in housing for the lower income population to get them off the streets and into homes...what is going on every night, is the police are going around at night, to the popular homeless hangout sites, picking up these people in paddy wagons and housing them in the jails at night.
There is always two side to every coin...I don’t share this other side with you to be a downer or to taint the Olympics themselves....I share to show the honesty of where I live and to shine a light on why I was unsure about this event to begin with.
(for pictures click on The Flame )
As usual, it was my youngest child who brought me into his light...sharing the warmth of his flame.
This past Monday morning The Olympic Flame was to pass through our town on the way to Vancouver. (we live in a suburb of Vancouver) So with all the Olympic charge at school The Scientist was primed to get up early early early to see The Olympic Torch; early being 6:30 am...ceremony beginning at 6:00am. Fortunately for us we live but a mere 15 minute walk from the down town core, so leaving the sleeping Rock Star behind we left home at 5:50am by foot, to head up to the Olympic Torch Ceremonies...and the beginning of my own flame melting my chilly attitude towards The Olympics.
There was a bigger than expected turn out...over 8,000 turned out this early dark winter morning to be a part of this once in a life time event. There was hot chocolate and coffee supplied by The Salvation Army, local dancers preformed, local leaders spoke....but most of all I felt the community and the unity that an event like this brings...beyond all the hidden agendas of those “in power”and the corporate monster that seems to linger everywhere....I felt the unity of the people, and I breathed it in and it was good.
An exciting morning for The Scientist who was fortunate enough to get his picture taken with our National 5 time Olympic medalist of boxing, along with the torch....he and I also took part in the torch relay, and he got his picture taken with Sally Anne, The Salvation Army mascot.
So that was the start of my Olympic journey...and I have to admit when that torch came into the Memorial Peace Park Square I had tears in my eyes...the feeling was undeniable...and in that moment I felt the hearts of all those around me, connected and one. I recognized it is in these moments that our hearts open to one another... I remember thinking God must be smiling...so much disunity in our world, here was a moment along with all the moments that came fore this one and the ones that were to follow. I was happy to be part of it.
Then came the opening day...well if you watched the opening ceremonies you would have seen a beautiful expression of Canadian life West Coast style. It was a visually stunning program featuring some of our favourite singers and musicians. Our aboriginal culture was prominently featured which was so amazing. Even the terrible event of a death to the young Luger from the country of Georgia was handled with class and honour.
Watching the games this weekend and hearing the stories of these athletes and the countries represented it is a refreshing break from the usual stories of war and unrest that plague our media today. And though I recognize that the problems still remain I am clear of the two sided coin that is part of our reality....a life that is rarely one sided.
We all have a flame within us, do we use it to warm or do we use it to burn...that is our God-given choice.
Today I am proud to be a Canadian...proud of the beauty I live in and the diversity of my people. We are a different sort up here in the West Coast...sometimes looked upon as complacent or too laid back...but it is part of our land scape, part of our history that brings us to that being. Living in amongst the Northern Rain Forests, beside the powerful Pacific Ocean and in the shadows of the magnificent West Coast Mountains our life scape is rugged and beautiful. We are tree huggers and loggers living side by side...*smile*....the irony of it all.
Our hope is to head into the city and take part in some of the free events going on...again something a week ago I was not interested in doing...mmm how the tune has changed. I will leave you with this promo video of my province...my home....a home in which I experience the amazing power of a creative God.
What is it that stirs the flame in you?
Love and Light
...enjoy the show...