January 4, 2006
It is one thing to lose a dear family member, but quite anothing thing to lose one in a tragic accident. Perhaps the worst thing of all is when it is learned that a loved one has perished after having been told that he or she had been saved. I happened to be up late last night, and was at first delighted to see news reports around midnight that twelve of the miners trapped in a West Virginia coal mine were still alive. The scenes of joyful family members hugging each other over the apparent miraculous rescue seemed almost too good too be true, ... and indeed it was. About three hours later came the awful truth: Only one of the thirteen trapped miners was found alive, and he remains in critical condition, probably suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Could any poet or clergyman come up with the right words to console the crestfallen, bitter emptiness that those family members are going through? As we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the victims' families, let us also pray that this terrible twist of events does not undermine those hard-working, long-suffering folks' faith in God. As yet no one seems to know how the false report originated, and one can only feel pity for the unfortunate soul who conveyed the mistaken impression.