Chile’s Miracle Miners

2010 isn’t quite over yet, but it’ll be hard to top what I think is the feel-good story of the year – possibly the decade. Yesterday the whole world watched in wonder and awe as, one by one, thirty three Chilean men emerged from the mine which could very well have been their tomb. I’m sure many of us laughed and cried along with their loved ones. I know I did.

I found an interesting article in the Montreal Gazette entitled, “How Did Chile’s Trapped Miners Survive?” The first question, the same one uppermost in my own mind, was, “What did they eat?” It was amazing to learn that the men rationed themselves two spoonfuls of tuna and half a cup of milk every forty-eight hours for seventeen days before drillers discovered that they were still alive.

Think of it. Seventeen days during which these men somehow managed to keep themselves and their hope alive.

And then there were the fifty one more days that followed, in which the men organized themselves, established a routine, and perhaps most incredible of all, managed to keep up their good humour.

Those of us who lived out these past two and a half months comfortably on the ground, living our normal lives, and perhaps taking a lot for granted, have much to learn from these men. As one of the miners said, “Often something has to happen to you before you stop and think and understand that you only have one life, and then you think what you have to change.”

C.S. Lewis once called pain “God’s megaphone for a deaf world.” It comes in many forms; sometimes it needs the moral – if not literal – equivalent of a ton of falling rock to wake us up. When it does come, let’s hope we have the perception to look for what needs changing, instead of throwing up our hands and giving up. The miners didn’t give up. We owe it to them to do the same.


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