The reason I am writing about this today is because if you had asked those young boys how their day was going to go, never would have told you that they were going to get caught in a cave for two weeks with no food and little water. They were trapped in a massive underground structure with no way to signal anyone as to their whereabouts. So what can we glean that would be useful to us living our lives on a daily basis?
Lesson # 1. Life doesn’t always go the way we plan. Prior to the exploration of the cave they didn’t know there was going to be a two week departure from their daily routine. Prior to the event happening none of them most likely ever worried about their survival in such a concrete way.
Did you worry about them and their survival? I’m certain that most everyone experienced feelings as the drama unfolded. Some people probably felt hopeful for them, others nervous for them. However the question needs to be asked, how much anxiety did you feel for them? Did it preoccupy you day? Even if it didn’t preoccupy your day, did your worry for them have any direct or indirect impact on them? What would happen if you didn’t worry about them? Would it mean that you didn’t care?
Lesson #2. Worrying doesn’t have any effect on the world or anything that happens in the world. When you worry, you only affect yourself and how you view and see the world. When you worry you look at the world through that lens and more worry get reflected back at you. Worry will only reinforce worry.
I was really struck by the news reports that said that the boys were in good spirits when they were discovered. Since there is no way of knowing exactly how they were feeling prior to being discovered, it is nice to know that they were described as being in good spirits. What if they themselves were a group of nervous youngsters? What would the effect of anxiety have on their physical bodies? We all know what anxiety feels like, could their bodies survive with the added stress to an already stressful situation? Perhaps the coach was the stabilizing factor. Or perhaps one or more of the children themselves were.
Lesson #3. One person can make a difference in the whole dynamic of a group. Never underestimate the power of one person who can change everything in a group dynamic. One reassuring presence can influence a crowd. They could have lost all hope and the results could have been different if their bodies could not sustain them during their ordeal. The reality is that in every moment they were still alive and that was all that was really required. Remember they had no way of even knowing that efforts were underway to rescue them.
How did you feel when they were rescued? I know from my own personal experience I was moved to see how the world celebrated. I watched how people were celebrating the safe return young boys who prior to the whole incident no one knew. I felt a sense of gratitude for their safety. I felt some sadness for the rescue worker who died. We have no idea what the life’s mission of that particular rescuer was. Perhaps his life’s mission was to facilitate the rescue of those boys. Perhaps the rescue mission would not have been successful if not for the presence of the one who died and the contributions he made to the effort as a whole.
The mission was not easy. Sophisticated technology was used to determine their exact location in the cave. The flooding that occurred meant that there was a tremendous amount of water that needed to be removed before the rescue workers were able to reach the stranded boys. The water was removed pumped out gradually, over time, until it reached a level that was passable for the divers to reach them.
Lesson 4: Life is about taking steps and not quitting. The rescue efforts could have been aborted if they felt that removing small amounts of water at a time was not enough. The water did not have to be removed all at once. They had a plan and they stuck to it.
To me, the example of the cave is an extreme example of how to live our lives to the fullest every day. As long as you have life, you always have possibilities. Nothing is impossible. The very fact that you can conceive of something makes it possible. No matter what the odds look like it really means nothing, because everything is possible. Life calls for flexibility, a willingness on our part to not be so determined to have everything go the way we want it to. Life includes everything even the certainty of death of the physical body. Know that it is the body that dies, not our eternal soul. Celebrate and make the most of your time here now. It is a gift. Do the things that you feel are in alignment with who you are, even if you think that it cannot be done. If these young boys can survive in a cave for two weeks in cave with no idea that anyone would find them, how bad is your own personal situation? You are reading these words…you are here NOW. Go make the most of it.
© Michael S. Morris, MA LLP