Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sweet and bitter freedom.

Tasmanian Mine Rescue

For the past two weeks, Australia has been watching nervously as two miners, trapped nearly 1 kilometer below the earths surface in Beaconsfield Tasmania, were slowly and gently extricated from their tiny dark prison.

A third miner, Larry Knight was killed instantly when a small earthquake caused a rock fall in the deep gold mine.

His two co-workers were released in the early hours of this morning in time to farewell their mate at his funeral today.

They walked free apparently unscathed by their ordeal.

This news item has the stamp of indelible legend written all over it. It is one the more wonderful stories to come out of the news for a long time.

I confess that I haven't followed the miners dilemma very closely except for the morning headlines. I get so emotionally entangled inside these things I decided early on, when first hearing of the disaster, that it would be better to keep my engagement with it slight.

I still prayed for those miners. I still felt for the family of Mr Knight whose body was found only two days after the rockfall (on ANZAC Day April 25th 2006). But I kept my nose out of the affair largely because it can become almost voyeuristic in many ways and that's not usually a good thing.

Ahhh but yes! The relief this morning to hear they'd been freed at last. Answers to prayer? Yes undoubtedly! Dedication and perserverence under duress? Most certainly!

The sweet freedom in coming out into the light of a new day after two weeks of dark, cramped, hot and muggy confines, must have been one of the most powerful feelings these two men had ever experienced. They have felt, seen and done things we can only barely begin to comprehend over these past 14 days but they have kept their spirits high and not lost sight of their goal. Freedom.

Now the true test of their character and I guess a test of the people of Beaconsfield itself will be if it can help these two men to deal with the massive emotional pain of losing their co-worker in such circumstances. This will be a bitter time for them as they grieve the passing of a friend and juxtapose that emotion alongside the incomparable joy they must feel at being free and alive.

The measure of a person is how well they understand their ability to handle the tough times. There are times when we should know what we can do to help ourselves but most importantly, there are times when we need step aside and let others take over the reins of control; if we can do that gracefully without rancour, then we are truly free.

The soul is always free to choose its way. It always has wings and always has the opportunity to fly. The body may be trapped, bowed, entangled, engaged, subdued: but the soul can never be made so. Your souls ability to live large and alive in the world is its greatest strength and mankinds greatest hope. Give your soul beautiful wings made of Faith, Hope and Love and it will always be free.

I thank God for the safe delivery of these two men to their families. I thank God for the short life of Larry Knight and ask his mercy on his family. I am proud of my people here in this country for their strength of character, their willingness to roll up their sleeves, dig in and dig out those who need help. I am amazed at the fortitude and resilience of these men who mine for gold in such inhospitable places.

Above all, I am glad that this story teaches us more about the truth of Liberty and Freedom than any political speech ever could. :)

It's a good day in Oz today. :)

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