One thing I know for sure is that there are opportunities for learning all around us, if we will but only open our eyes and ears – and hearts and minds.
Did you catch any part of the recent Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics? Did you see the part when the snowflake, which was supposed to transform into the fifth Olymic Ring, didn’t transform? If not, you can catch a glimpse of it here. It was talked – and joked – about all over social media and, I would bet, at most “water coolers” around the world. My favorite joke was from The Huffington Post. It showed a picture of the four open rings and one un-opened one, with a tag line that said,”too afraid to come out.” You can see that joke, and other clever (and some crude) ones at Buzzfeed’s article called The Best of the Internet’s Response to the Fifth Ring Not Opening. You can see a less subjective article from The Atlantic about the mishap here.
Admittedly, there were a lot of other really cool effects that did work during the lavish ceremony, and can still find evidence of this all over the internet, including this article from the sports site, Bleacher Report. But this error had the potential to overshadow all of that, and haunt Russia and the Olympic organizers forever.
But I predict it won’t. Why not?
Just a little over two weeks after the techincal debacle, during the Closing Ceremony, Russia showed us all that they had decided not to let the earlier error – the error seen ’round the world – keep them down. They replicated the same exact scene, with the first four snowflakes opening beautifully. Then, what happened next showed us that Russia has a sense of humor after all. When it was time for the fifth ring to open, breaths were held across the globe. And for a short moment, which seemed like an eternity, it didn’t open. And then it did. And we all sighed. And laughed.
Russia and the 2014 Winter Olympic Committee had taken what was a snafu of epic proportions and used it to make fun of themselves.
What a beautiful lesson! Since not even the Russians take themselves too seriously, why should we? Why should I?
So this is one of the many things I learned from the 2014 Winter Olympics. And it has very little, if anything at all, to do with the athletes, the medal count, or even the the politics of the international event. It has to do with you and me and how we will live our lives from this point forward. Will we live them fully and richly and joyfully? Or will we die before we die?
I hope you join me in choosing to really live while we are alive. After all, in the words of Elbert Hubbard, “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
PS Tragically, Elbert Hubbard and his wife died aboard the RMS Lusitania, which was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on May 7, 1915. With all due respect to this wise and accomplished man, I certainly hope that he had been living while he was alive.