The rescue of the Chilean miners is taking place right now, and I’ve been glued in front of my television, not wanting to miss a single second of any of it. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve cried as each new miner comes up to the surface, and steps out of the cage, and then I hold my breath and sit on the edge of my seat until the cage comes up with the next one.
I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s because I don’t often get the opportunity to watch a miracle taking place, and by watching it unfold live I can feel that in some small way I’m a part of it.
Maybe it’s because these 33 miners, trapped 2,000 feet underground for 68 days, beat the longest of odds to survive long enough to be rescued, and I just love stories where the underdog wins. Maybe it’s because it’s just such a feel-good story, and I want to feel good.
It’s probably a combination of all three of these things that kept me up late the night of October 12 as the first miners emerged, and that’s keeping me in front of my television today, October 13, as the rest of them are pulled to safety.
It’s a real-life happy ending.
That’s what it was the last time I was glued in front of my television watching a rescue: that one was the miracle on the Hudson, when the US Airways plane landed in the Hudson River, and everyone survived. I watched the images of the plane approaching the water, and the passengers standing on the wings of that airplane time and time again, fascinated.
The time before that was 1987, when 18-month-old Jessica McClure was brought out of the well she fell into and was trapped in for more than two days.
Like with the story of the Chilean miners, it was extremely hard not to be drawn into Jessica’s battle for life, and not to fear that the rescue attempt might come too late, and Jessica wouldn’t make it out of that well alive.
Every once in a while a story comes along that touches everyone, and draws the whole world together. The rescue of the Chilean miners is one of those stories. The next time there’s an amazing rescue taking place live on TV (and I’m sure there will be one), I’ll be glued to my TV again, and I’ll think back to the Chilean miners, just like I’m thinking back on the others now.
That’s because I’m all for happy endings.