Like so many millions around the world, I was thoroughly drawn in by the 2008 Olympic Games, enthralled by the spectacles and inspired by the performances. In fact, never before have I been held with such rapt attention by an Olympiad. Perhaps it was the stunning Opening Ceremonies that captivated me so; possibly the Michael Phelps phenomenon is the reason for my unprecedented interest. Maybe I just finally realized the significance of the Olympics.
As I watched the Closing Ceremony last night, I was impressed at the wonder of such an event, not just in the remarkable artistic expressions, but in the global scope. For 17 days the nations of the world set aside their differences and had fun together. Certainly, the competition was fierce and national pride rose to new heights; yet, people came together and played games. Taiwanese athletes came to China to compete. The Putins and the Bushes sat in the bleachers together. And the little island nation of Jamaica wowed the world.
We saw that people really are people no matter what colors they wear. We heard shouts of celebration in languages we don't know, but we all could understand. We saw tears of heartache and disappointment, as well as tears of joy. We saw mistakes and failures, victories and stunning upsets. We saw fear and courage, sportsmanship as well as disrespect.
We also saw the yearning for more. Though with the Closing Ceremonies the politics and struggles of the world will again take center stage, we saw the hopeful vision of humanity expressed in Beijing. Deep down, we all long for that mysterious and majestic land, that place of wonder and delight. We long to peak inside the gates and get a look with our own eyes. We all long to gather with people from every tribe and nation and celebrate as never before. Yes, we long for something more.