Mining for miracles
Q: Success stories don't get any better than the recent rescue of 33 miners in Chile who were trapped for 68 days. One miner said he now saw the world in a whole new way. Do you think that feeling will last? Have you ever had an experience, small or large, that changed the way you think about life? If so, how has your life changed since, and are you glad for it?
I'm sure that being underground for 68 days makes you glad just to breathe fresh air -- just like having no food for a week would make you fall in love with a can of SPAM! The feeling of elation and deliverance for most people is not likely to last unless they really had an emotional or spiritual shift while they were down under (no, that's not the same awakening you get by dogging all those poisonous animals in Australia's outback).
However, it is true that an extended yet temporary dirt nap could leave you a changed person forever. I have heard that people who've been accidentally buried alive emerge from their premature graves with great conviction to become better people. I assume they're also pretty emphatic about finding a new doctor!
Personally, I have had many experiences that gave me lasting change -- not all of them instant, but powerful nonetheless. But those times when things permanently changed in a single moment have stuck with me; they are mental notes that help me to make good decisions today.
Some time ago, I had a girlfriend with a lot of problems; it made me crazy because I thought we were soul mates. One day I realized that if she really was my soul mate, there must be something horribly wrong with my soul! In that moment, I realized that my behavior was attracting things in my life that I could not handle very well. I was motivated to get accountable for the role I played in my own problems. When my maturity and actions improved, so did the people who showed up in my life.
Years later, a good friend of mine confirmed this by saying, "Back in those days, any woman who was really interested in you was clearly not OK to date." My relationships improved dramatically when my conduct and outlook on life became better.
So the change the miner says he's had could be very real and last forever, or he could be back to his old ways next month. I'm not sure what those ways are, but the look on his face indicated that they might have involved alcohol and a woman who is not his wife. People are changed forever based on how open they are to the impact from the experience. Some folks hear a motivational speaker at a conference and are changed forever; others might lose their legs in a drunk-driving accident and get arrested the very next year for DWI because they were intoxicated and doing 80 mph in a motorized wheelchair.
The specifics of the experience, the kind of person you really are before the experience and the customs of your culture can influence how you react to traumatic events in your own life. For example, if those miners were Americans, they would all be appearing on Oprah and have book deals by now. That, we can all agree, will definitely change you forever!