Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mario's Pledge

This morning, as I often do, I watched the first fifteen or twenty minutes of Good Morning America. I guess I have to get my fix of the previous day’s political news, and anything of note that has happened in the wider world before I get going with my own little piece of it. Today, I was touched by the story of Mario Sepulveda, one of the Chilean miners who were rescued just last week after 69 days trapped underground.

Mario is one of 33 men who have a whole new perspective on life today. They were very lucky. Lucky that they survived the mine collapse. Lucky that they were able to be found so far underground. Lucky that they live in a day and time when technology can enable such a difficult rescue. However, I think they are lucky in a whole different sense. They are lucky because they have been given the opportunity to see what the world looks like after you have passed through the curtain of total despair, and have arrived on the other side. My guess is that what was important to each of them today is quite different from what was important to them on the day they arrived for work before the accident.

In the interview with ABC’s John Quinones, Mario said two things that stood out to me. The first he uttered while kneeling on the beach with his son at his side: “I adore you God. I promise I will never leave you just like I promised when I was buried alive.” The other was said to ABC: “Life is short. In one minute, you can lose it. In one minute, it can all be gone. Don’t worry so much about money. Live your life. Live every second of your life.”

If only those of us who have never faced that kind of terror and survived could really grasp that message and hold on to it! Unfortunately, so many of us require some sort of life-shattering experience before we really reach out to God; before we really feel the preciousness of life.

I am a Christian. God has been an important and integral part of my life since I was a young boy. Even so, I am humbled by “Super” Mario’s simple prayer. It has made me consider whether I truly ADORE my God in the same way. What pressures, what temptations would move me to “leave Him” even for a little while? Am I totally devoted the way that I want and need to be? I don’t think so. Thank you Mario for reminding me of how vital the presence God is in my life!

I really see both of Mario’s statements as intertwined; adoring God and living every second of your life because life is short. The younger we are the more we tend to think that we have an unending amount of time ahead of us. As we age, the more it begins to dawn on us that our lives are truly finite. Even as we age, though, we still tend to think that we’ll always have tomorrow. I’m busy today, so I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m tired this morning, so I’ll go to church next week. I know I’m not really focused on spiritual things right now, so I’ll change that after college….or, after I’m married….or, after the kids are grown….or, after I get that promotion….or, after I retire. Ooops….life is gone.

Thirty three men were dragged out of the depths of darkness last week. What will it take to get us to drag ourselves out of the dark depths of spiritual blindness and the shadows of self-indulgence?

I wrote the following poem a few years ago, but today I am dedicating it to Mario Sepulveda. Remember your pledge to God, Mario. I will.

Open the Drapes
By Mike DeCamp

People are born, people die.
In between, they live a lie.

Once in awhile, someone escapes.
They open their lives as opening drapes.

With the future in sight, and without a mask,
They take on a purpose, a mission, a task.

Going through life, we all have a choice.
Live for ourselves, or God and rejoice.

People are reborn, never to die.
What are you waiting for? Give it a try.

To try is to do, when God leads the way.
It is a new life. It is a new day.

The highway is long, and on it we roll.
But remember the Rock, he paid the toll.


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