The Miner and the White Butterfly

MiracleSomething which man is not normally capable of making happen and which is therefore thought to be done by a god or God.

From the bowels of the earth, Jorge Galeguillos sat and penned a story that will no doubt become a part of Chile’s history and folklore.

It was early afternoon on August 5, and Galeguillos was heading back down into the mine aboard a Nissan Terrano pick-up truck. His friend, former soccer star Franklin Lobos, was at the wheel.

“We had been up to the workshop and as we were driving back down, a slab of rock caved in just behind us. It crashed down only a few seconds after we drove past. Just ahead I saw a white butterfly,” Galeguillos wrote in the two-page letter to his brother Eleodoro, also a miner.

“After that, we were caught in an avalanche of dirt and dust. I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The tunnel was collapsing and the rocks buried a backhoe. A water tank lower down was almost completely buried too,” he continued.

A huge slab of rock collapsed behind them, totally blocking the entrance to their section of the mine.  This collapse set off a series of rockfalls and cave-ins further down the mineshaft.

After the dust settled, Lobos and Galeguillos were able to maneuver around the rock-piles and reach 31 fellow miners, who were, by then, huddled for safety in the 50-square-meter refuge on Level 100.

Every once in awhile, the human spirit endowed with grace is given a  special power, with which he can accomplish the miraculous.  Not often do you see 33 souls merge and become alchemists of strength and spirit.  What gave these men the tenacity to make it through the worst mining disaster in the history of mining?  Was it thoughts of their families?  Their strong Catholic upbringing?  Undying optimism?  Hope uncensored?

And then there’s the White Butterfly.  A representation of past spirits and souls…a sign that angels are watching over you. A symbol of our ties to past cultures.  Sometimes we as humans become so cynical and jaded that a major  spiritual wake-up call is needed.  I watch as the “Fenix” raises one man at a time…it’s almost like watching the birth of a child each and every time a miner is freed.  Born into a new life of renewed faith and perspective. I believe that’s what this mining disaster and its resurrection is all about.  The ultimate spiritual wake-up call.

And I, for one, am paying attention.

P.S.  Who gives one flying flip about the Democrats and Republicans slinging mud at each other on a day like this?  Anyone more interested in THAT should be covered in shame.


4 Responses

  1. april – thanks for sharing this story.
    and i, for one, am also paying attention….

  2. Awesome, lady!! The spiritual meaning of the white butterfly is my favorite.
    And amen to not paying attention to the politicians!!

  3. This event is what life is really all about. The other things you mentioned are just noise.

  4. I am Roman Catholic. I will not be surprised that in the days to come that more will be recognized that God and angels were indeed present after the disaster took place….to give the miners hope of rescue and that they were not forgotten. There was also hope in the prayers of the families and people all over the world that were heard by God….We will be hearing much more of the miners’ faith in God and transformations in their lives while underground-if and when they choose to share.
    But as a Catholic looking in I see many connections with and parallels to our own relationship with God….There is no doubt in my mind that this has deep meaning for the ones who believe in God and how He works in our lives….if we just ask Him to…especially in the “deep, dark pits of our lives…..

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