The art of being a lifesaver

There’s something i have discovered in recent years about myself. It takes years to grasp the identity of who you really are, we’re constantly learning things about ourselves. We do it from a young age, through our teenage years it becomes intense but we struggle to process it properly for the most part. Over time we begin to realise there are certain things which we hold true and care about more than others
One of the best things i have learned is to uncover the identity of who I really am. What do I mean by that? Yes, i know who I am, but i’m talking more about the things that make me — Me. For me the journey to this has two parts. First, the life experiences that I’ve gone through. The experiences, the lessons, the people who have influenced me all form part of the identity that I’ve become. People are probably the biggest influence on who you become in life. You are essentially what you practice.
I consider myself a loyal friend, an honest friend. The kind that will be there when others desert you. It all sounds ideal but life is never that straight forward. Things happen, circumstances change and time can go by and relationships take on different foundations. But part of who i am is that i want to be the guy that puts others ahead of myself. I will literally drop what i’m doing if a friend needs something.
The other side to my identity comes from God. As a Christian this identity evolves over time. This one forms more mysteriously and can be even harder to understand. Some struggle with this their entire lives. It’s possible for a Christian to go their entire life and fail to work it out. What I’ve discovered is that i’m stronger than i ever give myself credit for. I’ve got a faith in God that could probably have broken several times now but arguably it is stronger now than it’s ever been.
I like to think that another area this has served me well in is in those things that mean the most to me. I’ve discovered that compassion is something that is important to me. Part of me has always tried to play the art of a lifesaver. Understanding the need for and showing empathy is just something I’ve always thought was important. I guess you could say I’ve adopted a mantra where if everything is under control for me then i should be looking out for those around me who mean something to me.
This year I decided to do two things that i felt were overdue. I decided to financially support some non profit organisations. Organisations which i had long endorsed and supported but never financially. The first was Save The Children. They are a humanitarian group who do terrific things world wide supporting kids in marginalised, war torn, famine effected lands. In a world where it seems you either have, or you don’t. I think it’s important to remember there are others out there with little control over their circumstances, and they rely on non profit’s like Save The Children to just make it through the day.
About a 2 months ago i started supporting another non profit. Love 146. I’ve endorsed their work for many years now. Love 146 represent the kids of this world who are affected by slavery and trafficking among other things. Their story starts with a man named Rob Morris who 16 years ago was haunted by a little girl he met who was saved from the trafficking system. She was given the number 146 and it started from there.
What they do is beautiful because at it’s simplest action it is an act of love. It’s reaching out a hand and saying “i got you, don’t be afraid, let us show you a better life.”. It’s a life that everyone deserves but too many seem lost in a web of deceit, sinister motives and rotten hearts.
Being a lifesaver isn’t about putting on a cape and wearing a lycra suit. It’s simply about recognising a need and doing something about it. It’s about having a heart that sees the need to intervene. Life is both a choice and a gift. I wonder what would happen if we started giving to lives on a more regular basis? I’m not just talking financially, but rather the idea of investing yourself in someone or something requires your thought, your time and a commitment. It could be sharing coffee? It could even be something as simple as making an effort to talk to someone.
That seems to be the problem these days. We as people are too invested in the wrong things. We focus too much attention on ourselves and often on things that really matter little. That reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite writers/speakers today. Jamie Tworkowksi is the founder of American non profit — To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA exists to support and love anyone who is struggling. Whether that struggle is depression, the pain of losing something or one of life’s many other social taboo subjects, they exist to remind people that love can move and that hope most definitely exists.
Jamie has an amazing heart, he also has an amazing way with words and i often find myself in awe of his ability to say the right things for the right time. In this particular blog Jamie wrote of the responsibility we all have to those we come in to contact with, especially the ones we consider our friends, family or even colleagues. He said;
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and roadtrips, airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else YOU WILL NEED OTHER PEOPLE, and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things” – Jamie Tworkowski
I loved that quote so much that i bought a t-shirt with it printed on front of it. I connect with it because in my role of seemingly wanting to play “the lifesaver”, I want those closest to me to be encouraged by the same things. I want them to know that i get it. I get that life isn’t just about me. It’s about all of us. It’s about leaning on each other. Sharing the good times and softening the blows when the tough times come. We are not alone in this. We never were and we never will be.
We all have roles to play. Roles which require us to think outside our own square, or step outside of our comfort zones. The challenge in this is far outweighed by the reward though. It all starts with a simple action — just let it go from there.

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