When I first heard of the plight of the Wild Boars trapped deep within the Tham Luang cave, I feared the worst.
Lost for nearly two weeks. Without food. In the dark. Perched on Pattaya Beach, within striking distance of monsoon driven underground torrents Roughly 2.5 miles from where they entered.
With no way out, but back. And underwater. No communication whatsoever with the outside world. Just 13 of them huddled together, about a kilometer underground. In need of some divine intervention.
As a parent, I felt sick. As a coach, I was bewildered. There was a growing knot of hopelessness in my gut over the fate of a baker’s dozen of kids on the other side of the planet. A sensation similar to too many other tragedies in the making or already made.
Then, as time passed and things began to unfold, I sensed that the tide was beginning to turn. An altogether different tenor and tone began to speak a language of hope and breathe life into this dire situation.
Now I have been called an idiot, but never a savant. Nor am I proclaiming that I foresaw, knew, predicted, prophesied or envisioned anything but Pattaya Beach becoming the tomb for those kids.
But things just suddenly started to feel different. Positive and hopeful even as the rescue window continued to grow smaller.
An expectation that all would be saved.
Somehow, the planets seemed to be lining up.
All of the right individuals were right where they needed to be, right when they were needed.
A precise mixture of SEALS from Australia, Great Britain and Thailand, and all of the similarly trained teams that offered their expertise and support however they could to save all 13.
The volunteer who came out of retirement to affect an impact on the mission, making the ultimate sacrifice the effort.
Members of the community, engineers, government officials, medical personnel, businesses, spiritual leaders and others that served as the underpinning for the efforts of the rescue team.
A 25-year-old coach. Orphaned at 15. A kid himself, that somehow kept it all together down there for 9 days.
And the parents.
Facing the prospects of losing their cherished sons. No one last hug, kiss or “I love you”.
Yet somehow they carried that unfathomable burden with such grace and forgiveness. So much so that their concern spread to include the well-being of “Coach Ake” who led them underground nearly two weeks prior.
One sending him a note early on, telling him not to blame himself and that he is forgiven.
Then another parent expressing her concern in this fashion:
“When he comes out, we have to heal his heart,” Pornchai Kamluang, mother of one of the trapped boys, said…”
There is only one power I am aware of that can line up the planets.
Possesses the ability to make sure all of the right individuals are right where they needed to be, precisely when they were needed.
Keeps even the dimmest spark of hope alive.
And fills the hearts of those who stand to lose everything with such abundant grace.
There had been an intervention, in what could only be described as divine.
In a mission that found and rescued more than those 13.
Healing more than one heart along the way.
Saving us all.