Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Indomitable Human Will to Survive

The human will to survive is nothing short of incredible. Almost daily we hear stories of people who refuse to give up against all odds.How would you do in a life threatening situation? Would you fight with every sinew in your body, or would you willingly except your fate? I think almost all of us would argue the former. As I reflect upon this question, I'm reminded of some recent stories that support this argument. The evidence seems to support the hypothesis that humans will hold on tenaciously to life.

Just this week a story emerged about a young couple from Manitoba that got lost in a blinding snow storm in which the temperature dropped to -43 C. Two twenty year olds spending time together on an ice fishing trip. Young and in love, there whole lives in front of them. As they set out for home, the weather took  a turn for the worse. Before they knew it, they were lost, freezing, and their snowmobile was almost out of fuel. The easy choice was to give up and accept their fate. They did not.

They settled in for the night, surviving by keeping  a fire going. At times they were close to falling asleep, but that would have meant almost certain death. They struggled to stay awake, but they did, and they made it through till morning. As the weather cleared they were able to make it to a nearby home, and from there they were helped to safety. They never lost the will to survive. Inspiring!

Perhaps a more incredible tale of survival  in the news recently, was that of Makenzie Wethington from Texas. For her sixteenth birthday her dad agreed to take her skydiving. I'm sure he was nervous, as any father would be, but he allowed her to go. In fact, he tagged along with her.

They went through several hours of training, and before they knew it it was time to jump. Imagine the thrill of anticipation, the butterflies in the stomach as they prepared to jump. I know this is one of the things on my Bucket List. Then it all went wrong. Shortly after Makenzie jumped from the plane she became tangled in her parachute. What a moment of utter dread this must have been for this poor girl. The instructors tried desperately to guide her in correcting the malfunction through a microphone in her helmet, but they soon lost contact with her, it's believed she lost consciousness.

Her father, jumping behind her,  was frantic as he exited the plane. He was desperate to reach his daughter. She tumbled out of control 35, 000 feet. The impact with the ground should have killed her. It didn't. She not only survived, but she'll be leaving hospital soon. Make no mistake, she suffered broken bones, and bruised her liver, but she will make a full recovery. The human ability to survive extreme trauma is nothing short of inspiring.

The human will to survive is indeed indomitable. As I sit here comfortable, feet up, I can't help but wonder how I would do if faced with such life threatening ordeals. The truth is we all have it in us. The need, the will, to go on. We have untapped strength within us we don't even realize is there. It is. These stories inspire us, and, I hope, remind us that in the face of adversity we are capable of great things.