2018-07-13 / Commentary

Miracles can move the masses

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

“They’re All OUT!”

Those were sweet words to hear on July 10th as the last boy and his coach were rescued from a perilous and possibly fatal situation that has had us all holding our collective breath.

For the two previous weeks, the attention of the entire planet has been focused on a massive cave in Northern Thailand and the 12 members of a junior soccer team and their coach who got lost in it.

The soccer team, the Wild Boars, consisting of a dozen boys, ages 11 to 16 and their 25- year-old coach who, for all intents and purposes, vanished in the passages after the exit was blocked by flood waters, were miraculously found almost ten days into the search.

As the world watched, first responders including Navy Seals were called in after the team and their coach didn’t return home from their soccer practice on June 23. They were thought to have gone to explore the Tham Luang Nan Non cave, a popular tourist attraction in the area. When their parents all reported them missing, the search was on.

It took nine days to find them as their anxious families waited and hoped and people across the globe prayed and chanted and beseeched the Universe for mercy.

When all 13 of them were found to be alive and relatively healthy, although they had little food and water and were stuck in the dark, we, as one people, rejoiced.

They were over two miles back and the waters were rising. The oxygen levels in the cave were falling rapidly as the monsoons that would surely completely flood the caves were being forecast. There was a race against time and nature, and to add to the seriousness of the situation, many in the group, already weakened by lack of food and water, didn’t know how to swim.

Through the efforts of numerous countries including the United States, and hundreds of international medical, diving, and rescue professionals, teams worked tirelessly to figure out a plan to get the boys and their coach out safely.

It was a long, grueling and dangerous mission. The water was cold and the caves were dark and narrow. The rocks of the walls were sharp and any cuts could mean nasty infections.

One Navy Seal, Saman Gunan, 38, died while helping in the rescue after running out of oxygen. The chances weren’t good for the soccer team, but no one was willing to give up, and over two weeks after they were lost, the last boy and the coach were brought out.

The whole thing is a modern day miracle. Finding the boys in that labyrinth of tunnels and getting to them alone was amazing and then being able to get them out against the toughest odds imaginable was even more miraculous.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing, aside from the rescue, was for one very long moment in time, our world was tuned in and rooting together for those boys and the rescuers. It didn’t matter who we were, where we lived, or what our situation was, if we had television or news access, we were pulling for those 13 people and the rescuers to get out alive and well.

Nothing else mattered. Everywhere I went, people were watching the news or reading it on their phones. The grocery store clerk, the doctor, lawyer, or the gas station attendant…they were all tuned in.

All of us were.

For once it didn’t matter how we voted, who we loved, or how we worshipped, or even if we did.

Skin color, culture, race, religion…our differences were no longer important. The Muslim or the Jew…the Catholic or the Protestant…the Buddhist or the atheist… Republican or Democrat…red, brown, yellow, black, or white…we ALL came together on this rescue.

We all tuned in and we all cared about something bigger than our individual selves.

That gives me hope. That brief spurt of unity makes me think that, amid all of the anger and animosity and all the other bad stuff in the world these days, when the chips are down and the stakes are high, our humanity will always win out.

We will, as a people, rise to the occasion and our compassion, empathy, and just good old everyday kindness will take over.

This rescue was definitely a miracle…the unity of the people may be an even bigger one.

I’m just saying…

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