Friday evening I was walking down to the Lake Michigan shoreline with my youngest son. We noticed a crowd had gathered by the choppy water, and it seemed a dozen or so emergency vehicles were on stand-by, just waiting. Heat sensing helicopters hovered overhead, and a ring of boats anchored around one area. We soon learned that a group of teenagers had been swimming in the area, and the dangerous rip tides had caught them unaware. Three young boys were pulled from the water and were escorted in towels to a waiting ambulance. A brave passerby had dived in shortly before the divers arrived and had rescued a police officer, struggling against the waves after going in to save a young girl. One was still lost, and all our eyes were on the water, looking for her.
After 45 minutes, divers, police, and fire fighters suddenly sprinted upshore to where a bystander had at last spotted the missing girl. She was pulled from the water and carried to a waiting ambulance. Even from the distance we could see paramedics doing lifesaving CPR. At last a siren, as the ambulance raced away, and a collective sigh of relief; somehow we thought she would be okay. Later we learned she had not survived. Thoughts and sadness about it all still linger.
The shoreline tragedy reminded me somehow of how the world also holds its breath while rescuers race against time and water to save the young soccer team, trapped in a cave in Thailand. Humans are wired to rescue. We need each other for our common survival. Dramatic incidents remind us of this. Sometimes the most significant rescues are not dramatic at all, when we reach out to someone in trouble and help them back to safety.