The entire world was captivated by the rescue of twelve young soccer players and their coach from a cave in Thailand. People from all walks of life sat with aching bellies, praying for gleeful news to squash the fear in their hearts.
Success! Despite the odds, the boys, their families, and the world couldn’t have received a better outcome. Or a better story. Joseph Campbell’s A Hero with a Thousand Faces analyzes myths and stories from the ages, and yet again, the Hero’s Journey replayed itself.
Taking a quick look at some of the story dynamics, in the Thai cave saga, the stranded lads had clearly crossed the threshold into the belly of the whale while on an hiking outing. They become trapped by rising water deep inside a cave, and are plunged into a fight for their lives. Literally fish out of water, they must have gotten to know each other in the most intimate of ways as they awaited rescue. They learned of each other’s weaknesses—and strengths. With oxygen low, an impending monsoon season, and time not on their side, all seemed lost – until help arrives. As in the Hero’s Journey, they underwent a series of trials, tests, and ordeals only to return, ultimately, and forever, changed
However, the aid workers also faced their own set of challenges and sacrifices that required them to dig deep, past anguishing moments of defeat, eventually to be rewarded with triumphant success. They did not give up. They were determined and hopeful and together, each soul involved in that rescue has created their own personal Hero’s Journey. The lost boys, the coach and their rescuers created an epic, miraculous story that we can all love in unity, one infused with inspiration and hope.
The Hero’s Journey is all around us in large and small scales, as noted in David Wilcox’s work, The Synchronicity Key. The Hero’s Journey is about us, all of us. It’s played out in every one of our lives. The cancer survivor, the abuse survivor, the college graduate, the new parent, or the grieving widow are all moving along their own Hero’s Journey at any given moment in time. Maybe you are at an “all is lost moment,” but perhaps it’s only a lull, a turning point in the plot (albeit with the aftertaste of bad writing). Don’t be discouraged. The story rolls on, the story always rolls on.