Chile's emotional, uplifting, and nearly flawless rescue of 33 trapped miners will surely be studied for years as a model in crisis management. Watching each miner rise from the depths made for incredible reality television, impossible to turn away from.
Yet before those glorious moments, hundreds of people were constantly caring for them, sending food and goodies -- including personal music players -- down a tube to keep the trapped miners healthy, happy, and sane. Knowing someone dearly loves you in the darkest hours is powerful motivation. Knowing an entire nation is behind you amplifies that all the more over the course of two dark months underground.
Chile went all out for the rescue. I balk at using the term "party atmosphere" in describing a dangerous rescue operation, where any number of things could have gone wrong, but how else do you describe an event where people gathered to watch the miners on a big-screen television, shouting and singing as each miner emerged from the rescue capsule? I can't find the words to describe the love and tears of joy pouring from the relatives who embraced the ones they could have lost. The emotion spread far and wide. On our KOLD Facebook page, one person said she cried every time a miner came up.
"They have experienced a new life, a rebirth," said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who was at the rescue site in hardhat and work coat to greet each miner. "We aren't the same that we were before the collapse on August 5. Today Chile is a country much more unified, stronger and much more respected and loved in the entire world."
No kidding. The rescuers did everything right, or as right as they could. They didn't skimp or turn the process into a finger-pointing political squabble, at least not to the rest of the world. They made the process incredibly transparent, with cameras everywhere they could reasonably place them. What we saw were 33 trapped miners knowing they were going to make it and a nation that was going to make it happen.
A miracle? Perhaps. But you also have to remember Romans 8:28.