Beyond the Cave


Life is very fragile and can change within an instant. Shortly after arriving in Chiang Rai, Thailand I was informed that 12 boys and their coach were stranded inside a cave when it became flooded by rain. Throughout my time in Thailand, like the rest of the country and world, I have been following their story. Periodically, during our yoga classes, Pook would remind us of how lucky we were to be safe. The remarkable story of the 12 boys and their coach reinforces how resilient the human spirit can be in times of fear and uncertainty.

One cannot begin to imagine what it’s like to be trapped in a cave for 18 days, where water levels and oxygen are unknown variables in a life or death situation. Many times, I have tried to put myself in the position of the coach, wondering how he felt while in the cave. Did guilt consume him for deciding to venture into the cave with his team? Was his mind constantly racing and analyzing what his options were to ensure that the 12 boys would be safe? Did he hold onto hope that they would be discovered? Based on all of the news reports that I have read, he sounds like an incredibly brave and kind individual as he withheld food for himself to give to his players even if this resulted in his death. When in this situation, I am unsure of how many people would be this selfless.

So many people from around the world were invested in the Wild Boars soccer team’s safe return from the cave. Parents held onto hope waiting outside of the caves. I’ll admit that when I first heard that 12 players and their coach went missing, I was unsure if they would be alive. The parents and rescue team believed they were still alive and celebrated when they were discovered. When you think about it, without hope there is nothing. All the members of the rescue team believed that these children and their coach would be saved. Saman Kunan made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure saving these 13 individuals when he lost oxygen and consciousness and passed away after delivering oxygen to the 12 boys and their coach. What greater gift is there than that?

The events that unfolded in Chiang Rai within the last two and a half weeks have been an incredible depiction of resilience in times of adversity. They have also helped heighten my awareness of how delicate, precious, and unpredictable life can be. When I watched video of the boys being discovered by a UK diver initially, even just seeing how sensitive their eyes were to the light was shocking. We are given gifts everyday, from the air we breathe to the sunlight on our skin and faces that are very easy to overlook. I know I do this frequently.

The moving story of human strength and survival of the 12 boys and coach rescued in Chiang Rai has many valuable lessons. It helps remind me how powerful hope can be to help strengthen us in times of fear and hardship. This story has also made me more aware of how important it is to really appreciate the gifts that surround us everyday if we just take the time to see them. We never know when we will see them again. Cheers to all the brave individuals who assisted in the triumphant rescue of the 12 boys and coach from the Thai cave.

Sarah Masse