Caves, Humanity & Hope: A Meditation Inspired by the News
Twelve boys and their soccer coach lost in a cave in Thailand. Surging water, rising, trapping them in the dark far from home, far from help.
It is an ancient story, told since the days of Odysseus, we humans prone to wander, lost and alone.
It is our current story in those moments when are afraid and know not where to turn.
We wait, in the darkness of our caves. We wonder if help will come. We wonder if our nation will survive the current tumult. We wonder if our health will survive the current diagnosis. We wonder if our hearts will survive the pain.
And the news tells of search parties. Divers, scuba gear, woman and men from all over the world, thinking, working, hoping, crossing the barriers of language and of elements.
One’s life is lost, and we despair.
Meanwhile, parents pray, friends pray, maybe even a globe prays if that is possible. Not the trite “thoughts and prayers” tweeted out as platitudes. But the earnest groanings too deep for words: May they be saved. May we be saved. Save us, O God, not in some esoteric, theological sense, but in the deep ways of making us whole, the deep ways of giving us life, the deep ways of making us real and alive.
And we wait. We wait. 17 days. 408 hours. 24,480 minutes. That’s how life is, sometimes. The terrible not-knowing of time stretching out beyond itself, clocks ticking with terror of second swirling too fast and too slow.
Minds a-flutter, hearts awake. Ropes. And breathing tubes. And underwater stretchers. And medication. And batteries. Videos from deep in the earth. And we see these faces of life. And we look at the helpers. And we have hope. Small, far-off. There it is: Hope, alive in the caves of our fear-clogged souls.
Then comes the news: Four boys freed, then more and more, and another pair and another, their coach, the last child passed through water deep and dark, through mud and worry into the light. Into the light.
I believe, O God. I believe in the capacity of human beings to care for one another. I believe in the work of prayer when all seems lost. I believe in the possibility of women and men to save one another, to bring other people to life.
That is our hope. That is our promise. That is our calling. To dive deep in the caves of despair, to work with purpose, to think with creativity, to love, to save, to care.
Ten thousand people took part in this rescue. Two thousand soldiers. Two hundred divers. Representatives of 100 government agencies. All of humanity, it seems, turned to one purpose, one hope, one story of salvation, one story of life. May it be so. May it be so: This we pray, this we hope, this we crave.
July 16, 2018