These past few weeks it seems like I have been on an emotional roller coaster starting with my brother’s death, the chaos at the Mexican border and the rescue of the Thailand soccer team and their coach. Whew! Even though my family knew that brother Virgil was not going to make it, when it happened, it took some time to work through it with my family and friends. In the midst of mourning his death, I have been trying to grasp and process the immigration situation at the Mexican border. It has taken some time for the scene to play out and for me to finally focus on the how I feel about what it would mean to have my children taken from me without the knowledge of when I would see them again. Then finally the cave rescue of the twelve soccer players and their coach was the climax to any emotions that I had left.
Being so emotionally connected to the lives involved in these stories can be raw and unsettling. It feels like I am a bit late to the game because it has taken me a while to process my emotions however here are some of my thoughts about these stories.
The second story was about a soccer team who became stranded in a very dark dangerous cave flooded by water. I have tried unsuccessfully to put myself in the cave with them. I tend to be a bit claustrophobic and not fond of the dark. When I was young, my brothers loved to play hide-and-go-seek in the dark, outside in the yard with many great places to hide. Did I mention that it was very dark? And that they loved to jump out and scare their little sister? I was not a fan of that game in the least. Anyway back to the cave where those boys were trapped for ten days before anyone found them. How did they remain calm and sane without food, water and no light? I can only imagine their overwhelming joy at being found by a couple of Navy Seals who knew the hardest part of the team’s rescue was yet to come. I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the Navy Seals and the rescue workers who worked diligently to get them out of harms way. I was equally impressed with the boys and how in a very short time learned how to be comfortable in the water and also wear scuba gear. Under those dangerous circumstances, how did they remain calm enough to swim underwater about the length of eleven football fields without panicking? Oi! Many of us watched and prayed as the world united to rescue these boys and their coach one by one. I know it had to have been a miracle!
We now can take some time to celebrate these emotional events. We honored my brother like only family can. At the border we celebrate that a good number of the children under five have been reunited with their parents. There is still a long way to go for the almost 3000 more children to find their way back to their parents. We can also celebrate that the boys and their coach were successfully rescued and are to be released from the hospital and reunited with their families this week. I am continuing to process these events while acknowledging the helpless and at times powerless feelings help either group. I am by nature a fixer so not being able to do something was frustrating for me. The most powerful thing I could do was to pray for the families at the border, the immigration workers and for the separated children. My prayers covered the soccer team, their parents and all of the volunteers who assisted with their rescue. Honestly I am still working through the immigration issue trying to better understand how I can help the situation this time or the next. I am committed to be a voice for the voiceless and assist the powerless to find courage and strength to know they are important to us and more importantly to God. My prayers continue asking for courage to be bold enough to speak for others against injustice, unfairness and instead offer love and acceptance as Jesus did for so many. Let’s just say I am a work in progress.