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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



It leaves as suddenly as it arrives and as I sit here on a cold wintery night watching the closing ceremonies to the Sochi Winter Olympics I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this winter games has come and gone so very quickly.

It had been talked about for years and months as the countdown clock ticked closer to the opening day and workers scrambled to finish rooms and bathrooms and in some cases simply built fake building facades in order to provide those of us a half a world away a very careful scripted look at Russia.

We watched fun and exciting sports like the downhill slalom, and cheered on Lo Lo and her teammates in the bobsled. We cringed with each fall, each slip, each goal scored against us. We rejoiced at the beauty of figure skating and scratched our heads in the end when the sport became scored like a secret gymnastics event. The pageantry of opening ceremonies lead to afternoons and evenings watching snowboarding and downhill skiing and that crazy Canadian game of curling. We held our collective breath as we watched the U.S, Women loose a sure gold medal in less than five minutes. We even snickered a bit when the Russian men’s team was knocked out of medal contention, and created a flood of unwanted hockey tickets.

Over the last seventeen days we’ve seen people compete to determine not only the best in the world, but to push the edge of what we thought it possible for the human body to do. Once again, security did its job and the world took a collective breath for those few days. Unfortunately the Olympic spirit, the unspoken bond of competition and peace between athletes and their host countries, did not prevail everywhere and in many parts of the world tensions are still tight, and some leaders used the Olympics to attempt to make a social or political comment; which included our own President who tried to take a stab at Russia’s intolerance of the homosexual community. I’m not sure the Olympics is the place to attempt to set foreign policy nor enforce it. We have seen before what can happen when countries place an embargo on the participation of their athletes, yet in the end, the Olympics, and the spirit of competition continued on without them.

It is only a shame that we get a mere seventeen days every two years to celebrate this spirit, one where winning and losing seem to be as important as just competing, where countries unite, and where a peoples open its doors to the outside world, welcoming them in for a few days. Perhaps if we would remember that spirit of competition and peace, we would find that it could spread around the world and instead of millions going to bed tonight, hungry, or in fear, or under threat of torture, censure, enslavement or death, we could all live in a world of peace and the love of God, whichever one that may be. So to the Winter Olympics we say goodbye and farewell, we’ll see you in four years, remember to keep your stick on the ice and make the powder new.

See you next week. Remember, we’re all in this together.