The drama of the death defying rescue of 33 Chilean miners unfolding over the past 60 days or so, provided much scope for reflection. Some of my own thoughts in no particular order were about:
1. The resilience of human beings. During their first 17 days trapped underground when the men had no idea if their plight or location were known or if rescue attempts were even being made let alone whether they would succeed, they still strove to stay alive.
2. The miners' Faith in God. - none of this Basil Fawlty style "thank you god" for landing me in this mess but rather the "Holy Spirit blowing where it pleases", giving rise to hanging on in there and then thanking Divine Providence for survival and rescue: All being in the safe dining area when the collapse occurred; having left-over lunch scraps there by chance; water bottles fortuitously in vehicles which happened also to be nearby; vehicle batteries for some light, strong leadership; a quasi waterfall for washing and no killer gas such as methane was present - luckily their mining was for copper rather than coal.
3. So now we know that humans' achilles heal as regards surviving in a small space over a long time, is in our gums and teeth. Before the Chilean miners' experiences began to be told, I do not recall teeth being regarded as a major hurdle to survival. In WW1 for example feet, trench foot and 'flu seem to have been the major obstacles other than bullets and bombs.
4. Chileans' ability to celebrate in community together in basic warm human attractively down to earth , style, rather than in the affected or over-sophisticated way that sometimes applies in 'advanced' Western nations. That so many Chileans place their religious practices and beliefs so close to their hearts is clearly reflected in this whole drama yet such fundamental aspect was hardly commented upon in the British media at least. The Christocentric nature of Chilean Society and the positive effects that has not only on the men and their families but also on Chileans more generally,seemed to me tohave made huge impacts on what ocurred and the aftermath so far. I don't think that this 'no comment' is political or religious correctness at work but rather arises from a feeling that those aspects of Chilean life are naive, dated or irrelevant. My view is that by allowing those same aspects in our society to become submerged in our new consumer based culture, we risk our own lives becoming shallower.
5.Are natural disasters good for the soul?