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    Apodos: Gaci y todos sus derivados

    Vivo en: Madrid

    Me gusta: correr, la fotografía, los libros

    Color: azul cielo y rojo

    Número: el 11

    Adoro: el buen tiempo, conducir con música, viajar

    Película: El efecto mariposa

    Un vicio: el hockey

    Un libro: Un milagro en equilibrio, Lucía Etxebarría

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Miracle in the Andes

Coldplay – Lost!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjYjKNGt18k

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“Through the windows of the right side of the plane I gazed at the mountains, which thundered up from the dry plateau below us like a black miragem, so bleak and majestic, so ashtonisingly vast and huge that the simple sight of the made my heart race.”

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“It was a fine thing to be traveling with my friends, these friends especially. We had been throght so much togheter, all the years of learning and traning, the heartbraking losses, the hard-fought wins. We had grown up as teammates, drawing from each other´s strengths, learning to trust one another when the pressure was on. But the game of rugby had not only shaped our friendship, it has shaped our characters, and brought us together as brothers.”

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“In rugby, the remarkable thing of a scrum is: at the very moment of succes you can not isolate your own individual effort from the effort os the entire scrum. You cannot tell where your strength ends and the effors os the other begin. In a sense, you no longer exists as an individual human being. For a brief moment you forget yourself. You become part of something larger and more powerfull that you yourself could be. Your effort and your will vanishes into the collective will of the team, and if this will is unified and focuses, the team surgers forward and the scrum magically begins to move. To me, this is the essence of rugby. No other sport gives you such an intense sense of selflessness and unified purpose.”

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“My love for my father was the only thing that kept me sane, and time after time I would calm myself by reaffirming the promise I had made at my sister Susy´s grave: to return to him. To show him I had survived and ease his suffering a little. My heart swelled with longing to be with him. Thinking of my father this way always triggered in me a burst of love so radiant and urgent that it took my breathe away.”

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“We all were very careful about protecting our extremities from frostbite, so I always kept my hands tucked under my armpits as I slept, and my feet beneath someone´s body. Still the cold made my fingers and toes feel as if they´d been struck by a mallet. Sometimes, when I feared that the blood was freezing in my veins, I would ask the others to punch my arms and legs to stimulate circulation. Always I slep with a blanket over my head to trap the warmth of my exhaled breath. Sometimes I would lie with my head close to the face of the boy next to me to still a litlle breath, a little warmth, from him. Some nights we talked, but it was difficult since our teeth chattered and our jaws trembled in the frigid air. I often tried to distract myself from the misery by praying, or by picturing my father at home, but the cold could not be ignored for very long. Sometimes there was nothing you could do but surrender to the suffering and count the seconds until morning. Often, in those helpless moments, I was certain I was going mad.”

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“Arturo´s idea disturbed me. It fascinated me that despite all his religious skepticism he was a very spitirual person, who sensed my anger at God, and urged me not to turn away from Him because of my sufferinf. “You are angry at the God you were taught to believe as a child. The God who is supposed to watch over you and protect you, who ansers your prayers and forgives your sins. This God is just a story. Religion try to capture God, but God is beyong religion. The true God lies beyond our comprehension. He can´t be explained in a book. He didn´t abandon us and He will not save us. He has nothing to do with us being here. God does not change, he simply IS. I don´t pray to God for forgiveness of favors, I only pray to be closer to Him, and when I pray I fill my heart with love. When I pray this way, I know that God is love”

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“Whenever anyone was laughting, it was usually Coco´s doing. The sound of the laughter in those mountains was like a miracle, and I admired Coco for his courage, lightening so many spirits when, like the rest of us, he was so eary and afraid.”

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“Liliana worried constantly about the children she had left at home, but still she had the courage and love to mother these frighted boys who were so far from their families. She became a second mother for all of us, and she was everything you would want a mother to be: strong, loving, patient and very brave”

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“Deep down I always knew we´d have to save ourselves. Eventually I began to express this belief to the others, and the more I spoke of it, the more the thought of climbing obsessed me. I examined the idea from every angles. I began to rehearse my escape so vividly and so often that my daydreams soon became as real as a movie playing in my head. I´s see my self climbing the white slopes towards those bleak summits, visualizing every fragile finger-hold in the snow, testing every rock for stability before I grasp it, until I reach those green valleys. Vengo de un avión que cayó en las montañas…”

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“I am Rafael Echevarren and I will not die here!” There was not surrender in Rafael, no matter how he suffered, and I felt stronger everytime i heard him say these words.”

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“I was a windy night. I settled on the floor, and Liliana lay down next to me. For a while she talked quietly to Javier, who lay facing her. As always, they talked about their children. Liliana worried about the every moment, and Javier would confort her. I was tocuhed by the tenderness between them. Thay shared such an intimacy, such a sense of partnership. It was as if they were a single person. Before the crash they had been living the life I dreamed of: a strong marriage, the joys of a loving home and a family. I wondered if they would ever return to that life. And what about me? Would my own chance for such happines die with me in this frozen hell? I let my thoughts wander: Where, at this very moment, was the moment I would marry? Was she wondering about her future too, who she woukd marry and where she might be? Here I am, I thought, freezing my ass at the top of the world, and thinking of you…”

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“None of us had seen real mountains before. Prior to the crush, Roberto and Tintin has never even seen snow. If we had known anything about climbing, we´d have seen we were already doomed. Luckily, we knew nothing, and our ignorance provided our only chance.”

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“- I envy you, Roberto. I have never have a serious girlfriend.

– Really – he laughted – All those girls you chased with Panchito? None of them ever stole your heart?

– I guess I never gave any of them a chance. I have been thinking, somewhere out there is a girl I will marry. She is walking around, living her life. Maybe sometimes she wonders about the man she might marry, where he is, what is he doing right now. Would she ever guess he is in the mountains trying to cross the Andes to get to her? If we don´t make it, I will never meet her. She will never know me. She will marry someone else, never guessing I existed.

– Don´t worry. We will make it home and you will make someone happy.”

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“In that moment all my dreams, assumptions, and expectations of life evaporated into the thin Andean air. I had always thought that life was the actual thing, the natural thing, and that death was simply the end of living. Now, in this lifeless place, I saw with a terrible clarity that death was the constant, death was the base, and life was only a short, fragile dream. I was dead already. I had been born death, and what I thought was my life was just a game death let me play as it waited to take me. In my despair, I felt a sharp and sudden longing for the softness of my mother and my sister, and the warn strong embrace of my father. The love for my father swelled in my heart and I realized that, despite the hopelessness of my situation. the memory of him filled me with joy. It staggered me: the mountains, for all their power, were not stonger than the attachment for my father. They could not crush my ability to love. I feld a moment of clarity and calmness and in that clarity I discovered a simple ashtonising secret: death has an opposite, but the opposite is not mere living. The opposite of death is love. How had I misses that? How does anyone misses that? Love is our only weapon. Only love can turn mere life into a miracle”

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“Before the crash I took so much for granted, but the mountains show me that life, any life, is a miracle. Now, miracously, I had been granted a second chance to live. With my mother and my sister gone it was the life I wanted or expected, but I understood is was my duty now to life that live as richly and hopefully as I could. I vowed to try. I would live with passion and curiosity. I would open myself to the possibilities of life. I would savor every moment and I would try, everyday, to become more human and more alive. I simply felt it was my obligation to make the most of the chance I had been given. To do any less, I understood, would be an insult to those wo didn´t survive. So I opened myself to life and, to my great fortune, my new life began to happen”

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“I had wondered since I was a boy what it would be like when I first met the woman I would marry. How would I know her? See fireworks in my mind? Would I hear a thunderclap? Now I knew. It was nothing like that, there was only a firm, quiet voice of certainty whispering in my mind: Veronique. Of course…”

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“But how can you be at peace with life after what you have suffered? I tell them I am not at peace in spite of what I have suffered, but because of it. The Andes took so much from me, I explain, but they also gave me the simple insight that has liberated me and illuminated my life: death is real and very near”

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There was never a minute in the Andes that I did not feel death at my side, but the moment I stood on the summit of that mountain and saw nothing but towering peaks as far as the eye could see, all my doubts were swept away and the certainty of my own death became viscerally real. The realness of death stole my breathe away but at the same time I burned more brightly with life than I ever had before, and in the face of total hopelessness I felt a burst of joy. The realness of death was so clear and so potent that for a moment it burned away everything temporary and false. Death had shown its face, dark, predatory, invincible, and for a split second it seemed that beneath the fragile ilusions of life, death was all there is. But then I saw there was something in the world that was not death, something just as awesome and enduring and profound. There was love, love in my heart, and for one incredible moment, as I felt this love swell – love for my father, for my future, for the simply wonder of being alive – death lost its power. In that moment I stopped running from death. Instead I made every step a step toward love, and that save me. I have never stopped moving toward love. Life has blessed me with material success. I like fast cars, good wine, fine food. I love to travel. I have a beautifould house in Montevideo and another one at the beach. I believe life should be enjoyed, but my experiences have taught me that without the love of my family and friends all the trappings of worldly success ring hollow. I also know that I would be a happy man if all those trappings were taken from me as long as I am close to the people I love. There are so many perfect moments in a day, and I don´t wanna miss a single one: the smile of my daughters, my wife´s embrace, the company of an old friend, the feel of beach sand beneath my feet, the warn Uruguayan sun on my face.”

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“Now I am convinced that if there is something divine in this universe, the only way I will find it is throght the love I feel for my family and friends, and through the love of simply being alive. I don´t need any other philosophy than this: My duty is to fill my time on earth with as much as life as possible, to become a little more human every day, and to understand that we only become human when we love. I have tried to love my friends with loyal and generous heart. I have loved my children with all my strenght. And I have loved one woman with a love that has filled my life with meaning and joy. I have suffered great losses and have been blessed with great consolations, but whatever life may give me or take away, this is the simple wisdom that will always light my life: I have loved, passionately, fearlessly, with all my heart and all my soul, and I have been loved in return. For me, this is enough”

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“It the first pep talk I first consented to give after thirty-odd years after the crash, I didn’t say a word about creativity or teamworking or problem solving. I didn’t mention the word success. Instead I shared them what I suddenly realized was the true lesson of this ordeal: It wasn’t cleverness or courage what saved us. It was nothing more than love. Love for our families, friends and for the lives we wanted so desperately to live. Each of us realized, with a clarity that is hard to describe, that the only crucial thing in life is to love and be loved. The sixteen of us who survived will never forget this. No one should forget this”

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