If his mom hadn’t called him about the suicide book he’d ordered from the library, Tim Ferriss might not be here today. Thankfully, most of us will never need such a chance encounter or staged intervention. Why is that?
Why don’t we all require literal life-saving, given we all fight the same existential battles? I have a theory: You’re already being saved. It just happens differently than you imagine, and you don’t realize it does.
Every day, tiny parachutes protect you from falling. You don’t know who made them. You don’t see them on your back. All you know is you’re okay, and that’s the part that matters.
When I was 13, I felt angry. I don’t know at who or why. Every morning, I listened to Linkin Park. It was soothing to hear another man yell at the top of his lungs. One day, my anger just…went away. Did Linkin Park save me? I think it did. Not in a dramatic, literal way, but with countless tiny parachutes — one song, three minutes at a time.
Right now, something is saving you too. Maybe it’s a song. Maybe it’s a joke. Maybe it’s a friend listening to your troubles. We can’t always see it, but, all through our lives, a stream of invisible, helping hands carries us. Microscopic sparks of salvation, sprinkled like stardust across our days. It is thanks to this stardust that we don’t need a more radical and tragic kind of 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.
We too are a hand carrying others. We’re all doing our part, even if we don’t notice. It’s a magnificent contradiction: When it comes to the big things in life, no one will come and save you. You are your own light. You must be. No one will make you rich, happy, healthy, or fulfilled. That torch only you can bear.
At the same time, you are constantly being saved. Every day, billions of humans send trillions of ripples across the universe. Some of them will always reach you. Some of them will carry you forward.
Saving is for all of us, and yet saving, like everything, is part of the great balance. Every day, we’re both the savior and the saved.
By the time you rest your head on your pillow tonight, you will have been saved. You’ll also have saved someone else. Neither of you will know who did it. Neither will have seen the other pull it off.
All you’ll know is you’re okay — and that’s the part that matters.