It’s a question that pursued me for a decade. Is saving a life a choice? A once in a lifetime opportunity? Like saving someone from drowning, or choking? I spoke to people who had done it, some of them more than once. And, I wondered, is it possible to decide to save a life, then to set off to achieve it? Is saving a life a choice?
The greatest business person I know of is Oscar Schindler. He built a business, making pots and pans, and pivoted it into a system for rescuing thousands of Jewish people from nazi genocide. It’s literally the greatest business enterprise I know of. The ‘service’ was absolute goodness in the face of absolute evil, and the ‘product’ was life itself. It makes the like of Facebook look trivial and banal in comparison, which it is.
I digress. What does it feel like to save a life? Would you like to know, to find out, to experience it? In this age of the ‘experience economy’ how about the ultimate experience, reaching out and saving a life, many lives, because you can?
Last year, I decided to make attempt, and see if it were possible, to save a life, if possible, to try, at least, to travel to a place where the opportunity might present itself and where life is cheaper than here in the UK, where the tightrope of existence is narrower, the drop more deadly. So I went to Cambodia, a place where doors had opened for me to visit, including visiting a prison, to deliver aid to children and babies there, the other side to the tossed coin, heads, save a life, tails, deliver aid to prisoners.
Maybe the coin will land on it’s side, against the odds, requiring a miracle really, and both would be possible.
That was last October. I can tell you how it feels to save a life. It feels like your own life is somehow justified, like you could die tomorrow and it would be ok, it feels like you earned your right to be here, it feels like treasure you can never lose. It feels like medicine for the soul, it feels like everything makes sense, like every mistake and failure and suffering was worth it, it feels like winning, like you won. It feels like a medicine that soothes your heart whenever you think of it, it feels like something deep, deeper than any achievement before. It feels like everything else that ever happens is a bonus, it feels like completion, like success, like fulfilment. It feels like relief, huge never ending relief, it feels like your own life was saved.
And it feels like you want to do it again. And again. And again. Because it’s the best thing in the World.