I got an email from my 21 year old daughter at 9:30 last night. "I just can't stop thinking about the miners. They rescued all 33," she wrote. It is truly a captivating, heart-wrenching and inspiring story.
She went on...
<<"The fact that they were all down there together, staying alive, having faith, for over 2 weeks with no contact from the outside world, and then for 2 more entire months, to think that every single one with hardly a scratch are now back with their families and their lives are just turned upside down. It's just amazing to see them all smiling in the daylight, and looking so full of life!
I think part of it is just that it's incredible to see such a positive story, a story with absolutely no negative, so highly publicized. What is our news full of? Wars, bombings, terrorists, failing politics, natural disasters. And here is just happiness">>
My more cynical side worries about the negatives that are lurking around the edges of this story - lawsuits, corruption, political posturing, finger-pointing, media frenzy, the uncertain long-term fate of the rescued miners whose lives have been turned upside down...
...but how sobering and wonderful to hear this sincerity of feeling from a young person looking out at our world. She is absolutely right. The rescue itself is a triumphant story of dedication, fierce hope, competency, efficiency, teamwork, success, relief - and pure joy.
It is a phenomenal tale of perseverance and patience, the story of the 33 miners themselves, trapped for so long over 2000 feet underground in the hills of Chile. Many more stories are sure to emerge, but the one that I am most interested in hearing is the one about leadership.
When the story of the first contact with the miners came out - and we learned that they were okay, living a daily routine with jobs to do and holding on to hope - I thought of the story of Ernest Shackleton, whose expedition to Antarctica became trapped in the ice in 1914 or so. One of my favorite books is called "Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage." The story of the whole crew's survival was all about the strength and wisdom of a great leader of men (and a bit of blind luck).
The ability to lead with conviction, assuredness, compassion, and good sense - to hold on to the confidence of your team even in the most dire of circumstances - that is the test of a great leader. I have to believe that there was such a man underground in Chile. We may hear the story, or several versions of it, but it is one that I would especially like to celebrate.