The dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from deep within a water-logged cave in Thailand has given the entire world a reason to rejoice — not only because of the lives spared, but because of the way a multitude of nations cast aside differences and focused on the value of human life.
The United Nations may exist to help resolve conflicts among nations, but nothing truly can unite the world like the need to rescue children in peril. National interests seemed trivial and inconsequential. No one was turned away for political reasons.
After the rescue, a Facebook page run by the Thai Navy SEALs said, "We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what." In truth, it was all those and more. The world shrank to a single, united community, dedicated to finding a practical solution to a seemingly impossible problem, and it united in spirit and faith, as well.
Expert divers from around the world came together to volunteer their services, along with an estimate of more than 1,000 volunteers of all kinds. Doctors entered the cave to provide care. Even Elon Musk, the technology entrepreneur, was on hand trying to find solutions to the problems of extracting the boys and their coach and replenishing their oxygen supply while they waited.
Meanwhile, media kept the world enthralled with every aspect of the story.
What cannot be documented, however, were the millions of prayers offered on behalf of these efforts in a variety of languages and according to the patterns of many different faith traditions. Such collective faith and hope undoubtedly buoyed those who were handling the arduous duties of navigating the cave with those who were trapped.
Buddhist prayers were offered onsite as well as in places as far away as San Francisco. Among the prayers, the L.A. Times reported, were those that asked for the rains to stop, which indeed happened on Sunday, allowing the water to recede somewhat.
One diver died during the rescue attempt — a retired Thai Navy SEAL who was putting oxygen tanks along the cave to lay the groundwork for safely extracting the team. That tragedy underscored the difficult nature of the rescue attempt, but it also demonstrated the faith and strength of will united in those efforts.
Rather than shrink in the face of that death, rescuers forged on with resolve.
Now that the team is out and recovering under hospital care, it may be difficult to remember what the experts were saying only a few days ago.
The Washington Post reported Friday that officials were coming to grips with the "grim realization" that "not all members of the group may make it out unharmed, or even alive. …"
More heavy rains were coming, pumping efforts were providing minimal relief from the water that clogged much of the cave, and some of the boys did not know how to swim. Some officials were arguing for leaving the boys and their coach in place until the fall, when the waters would subside, reasoning that extracting them would be too risky.
Against that perspective, the successful rescue of the team was indeed a miracle that involved science, ingenuity, a tremendous force of will and the faith and prayers of many. If only the world could unite this way to solve all its problems.