You just don’t know by who and how.
We should not use the phrase “saved my life” lightly. It’s a big burden to carry, both for the savior and the saved.
We should reserve it for true, one-in-a-million situations. The woman snatching the girl away from the oncoming train. The soldier carrying his friend in battle. The right call at the last second for the suicide contemplator. Those are “saved my life” moments.
Each one of them counts, and yet, thankfully, they’re rarely required when looking at humanity as a whole. Why is that? I have a theory:
Most of us are being saved every day — we just don’t realize it happens. We don’t know who did it. We don’t know how they pulled it off. All we know is we’re okay, and that’s the part that matters.
When I was 13, I was angry. I couldn’t tell you why or what for. Maybe, I was feeling anger for the first time. Every day, I listened to Linkin Park. There was something soothing about another man yelling as loud as he could.
Eventually, my anger went away. Did Linkin Park save me? I like to think it did. Not in a drastic, literal way, but in many little ones — one song, three minutes at a time.
This happens to all of us, all the time. A stream of invisible, helping hands carries us, and it’s thanks to this stream that we don’t require more radical and dramatic saving.
Art is salvation. Kindness is salvation. So are joy, laughter, and motion. Whoever bestows them upon us is our savior — whoever makes us laugh, smile, or calm down becomes a helping hand.
Likewise, we are one of the hands carrying others. We too are doing our part, even if we don’t notice.
It’s a magnificent juxtaposition: For most things in life, no one will come and save you. No individual person will make you rich, happy, healthy, or fulfilled, and if you take good care of yourself, no one else will have to.
At the same time, you are constantly being saved. Billions of humans send trillions of ripples across the universe each day. Some of them always reach you — some of them always carry you through yours.
Saving is for all of us, and yet saving, like everything, is balance. Let’s stay aware of the current without expecting it to lift us all the way.