I have watched with fascination the rescue of the Chilean miners. I’ve been able to catch only bits and pieces of the coverage between sleep and work, but I finally stopped long enough to watch miner number fourteen emerge from the mine and out of that coffin like tube this morning to his awaiting family. It was worth the ten minute break I took from work. And I shed a tear. Or two. Okay, twenty six. Wow. It almost leaves me speechless when I stop and think about that ordeal.
Having worked in television news, I have strong opinions about the use of live television. In my opinion, it’s usually misplaced or overdone. We are bombarded with “breaking news” that isn’t and “live” images which do nothing to complement the story. However, I thought this morning as I watched Victor Zamora’s journey from the belly of the earth and onto its surface that this kind of story is exactly what live news coverage should be used for because all around the globe people were glued to televisions and computer screens watching with the same wonder and fascination that I did. Didn’t we all get excited to see the men make it safely to the top after 69 excruciating days of wondering if they’d make it out alive or die a slow death in that cavern? Didn’t we rejoice with their families as they hugged and kissed? I figure the best job on the planet today was being that woman in the red jacket that stood by the wives and children, holding their hands and giving them support during their wait at the edge of the tube shaft and then watching over and over again their joyous reunions with their husbands and fathers.
I tried to put myself in the shoes of Victor’s wife who seemed to be trying so hard to contain her emotions while that tube was rising to the top of the mine. What had the past two months been like for her? Did she ever give up hope? Had she begun to plan his funeral? And did she wait until he reached the top before she finally let herself believe he was going to be okay?
What about Victor’s son? The poor little fellow looked to be maybe five or six years old. What a burden for such a young person to carry for the past 69 days. His mother let him kiss and hug his dad before she stepped forward, probably understanding why it was so important for the little boy to be first. It was at that point in the coverage that my tears began to seep from my eyes. I just can’t imagine what that must have been like. Their lives will never be the same, and that child will never forget that moment.
And then I put myself in Victor’s shoes. What must it have been like down in that hole, surviving on meager rations and hope. What goes through your mind when all you have to do is to think about life and death? When you have no contact with the outside world for seventeen days? And goodness gracious, could I withstand that half mile claustrophobic ride in that rescue capsule winding through the rock? Would I be strong enough to survive something that takes such mental strength and will to live? I would hope so. According an MSNBC report, “Victor’s stream of humorous patter in the mine earned him the nickname "Babbler." His comrades say he laughed even at the aching molars he has suffered for weeks.” What a testament to his character, and let's hope someone fixes his teeth free of charge. Soon. The poor fellow deserves it.
Some of the miners have been dropping to their knees in prayer as soon as they hit the surface, giving thanks to God for their survival. You bet I would have been on my knees, too. As I watched the coverage, I couldn’t help but think about our preacher’s sermon this past Sunday on giving thanks. What an exclamation point to his message. I am thankful for the miners’ rescue, and I am thankful for the reminder of how blessed I truly am. There isn’t much good stuff on TV these days that I take the time to watch. The ten minutes of coverage I saw this morning was better than a full season of just about anything else on the tube this season.
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