After the recent coal mining disasters, what motivates people to take up a new career in the coal mines? An easy answer might be the generous pay and benefit packages available. The unemployment rate may be low, but wage growth is not keeping up with the rising costs. For many, that means money is a motivator.
But money isn't the motivator; it's what that money means. Ryan Boyd is diligently attending mining classes. He writes "Levi Hunter" on the top of his note page before every class. That is the name, he and his wife Miranda has given to their yet unborn boy. As Ryan says, "That reminds me of why I am here."
But what of the danger that they know lurks in the shafts below the earth? Men point to safety improvements in recent years and to the new changes that recent accidents will require. That's the positive due diligence new recruits use to focus on the positives.
But underneath it all is a sense of resignation and faith that is reassuring to many miners. Ryan Boyd understands that when he said in a recent interview, "Faith is a big thing to people here. If it's my time to go, it's my time to go. The bottom of a coal mine might not be the place I choose to die, but if it happens, so be it. I'm not afraid of work. If I lived my life running from fear, I wouldn't do anything but sit in a padded room and drink from a straw."
Some seem to tiptoe carefully through life hoping to silently and safely reach death. Is that any way to live life? Luther used to say, "Sin boldly." I imagine he was challenging people to live life boldly and to know that grace is sufficient to handle the sins we commit in the process.
Where do you need to sin boldly?
(Source: Tom Vanden Brook, "Recruits hungry for good jobs off to coal mines," USA Today, B-1-2, February 15, 2006)