These past few days we have witnessed the saving of 33 men, who had at one time been presumed dead some 2,000 feet under solid rock. Many people were responsible for this miraculous rescue. From the rescue workers and technical people who opened the way, to the miners' families and the people of a country who, simply, refused to give up. All the way up to a recently elected President, who risked all his future and his political life when he made a decision that had to be made: everything we have, as a country, will be committed to get these men out. He had the wherewithal to do this; by doing so and seeing it through, he has won the respect of many other politicians, most of whom would not have had the guts to do this. I truly salute him for it.
Like most people who have access to a news canal, during the last couple of days I have been riveted by the in-your-living-room-story of the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped 2,000 feet underground for just over two months. The fact they were all found alive after 17 days of having had no news from them was a miracle. Adding to this some additional 45 days of being interred at 2000 feet, culminating with an unselfish multinational effort to rescue them, to then see each one come out from the entrails of mother earth is, to me at least, proof that there is a Holy Father watching over us. There has been a lot of faith and endurance and in this case, literally, faith has moved a mountain.
Each and every one of the individuals who came out had family waiting for them. Each and every one has a story and a history. The moment in which the first miner came out was a magical moment. To see that Jules Vernian capsule being first swallowed by a hole in the earth more than half of a kilometer down, to have it then come out of that deceptively small hole topside with its most precious cargo intact, gave proof that we can indeed achieve all we may set our hearts and minds to do.
Of all the stories and tales heard and sights seen, there are two which really have made an impact, at least on me. Franklin Lobo, a former great member of the Chilean National Fútbol team (circa 1980’s) gave us a story to ponder. After his glory days he suffered from a malaise which affects many sports figures: mismanagement of funds and subsequent bankruptcy. He went to work in the mines in order to feed his family and pay for his daughters’ university. On August 5th at 2000 feet underground, while driving a truck with supplies, he tells that he saw a white butterfly flittering around. He was so impacted by this totally improbable sight, that he stopped the truck and got out to see if he could get a little closer to this little white miracle. I do not know if you believe in Angels but as he got out of the truck, the shaft ceiling fell down unto the road not 10 meters ahead of where he had stopped. In other words, had he not seen the little butterfly, he would have been under the falling rock. A miracle?
Another picture that stays in mind was of a son, named Daniel, coming out of the capsule into the arms of his mother, Doña Alicia. There had been other reunions before and there would be others afterwards. But none like Doña Alicia. When the camera focused on her expectant and very anxious face, the age lines on that weathered visage became a beautiful, surreal map of a life full of hardship and sorrow, yet full of love and faith.
At this moment her shining, beautiful eyes, looking at the capsule as it was hoisted from the little hole, simply told of her granite strong faith, about to be rewarded. Her hands came to her face; hands which would never win a beauty contest, except with that son who was now rising from the supposed dead. Calloused, rough and lined with much hard work. They simply told a story of a dedicated, humble woman who had raised this and perhaps other sons and daughters to be decent, hard working individuals. Those calloused hands went to her eyes, wiping away a tear of relief and joy; what might have been an unthinkable tragedy, became a moment of immense rejoice; a new birth.
As her son came out and into her arms, those hands could not do enough to wipe his tears, to caress his face, to tell him that all was all right now; he was with her again.
I simply watched and a tear came to my eyes also. Gratitude to Our Father, who will watch over us and will often remind us that He is there, that He will extend a helping hand when there is faith and trust enough to believe. In this case, faith moved a mountain; most of us who watched and many who did not, have much smaller mountains to move but often lack the determination and the true faith to do so. We get stuck under the weight of our own despair, forgetting that if we really try, yes, we can!! What a lesson to have learned!
White Butterflies and Beautiful Hands… just two of the 33 stories we learned about during these last two, wonderful, telling days.
Be Well… Be Back…