Growing up in a Christian country and family I am pretty cynical about the notion of saviours, but I’ve been realising lately that all the heroic big myths and motifs of life are possibly only the quotidian mortal efforts of humans writ large for effect. Most people I know can retell an event, or act, and embellish it beyond recognition, but still carrying the essence of its original truth.
The act of being a saviour can really be quite mundane, depending on the circumstances, however the effect of a kindness is as powerful, life changing and enhancing as the most famous sacrifices of any hallowed worshipped deity. Give your life for me?… how about just drop over a fresh batch of fairy cakes, or frozen lasagnes, a phone call to ask how you’re doing?
In the course of my life I have both been a sacrificing saviour to people in need and a bewildered grateful recipient of freely given help and support. Society doesn’t seem to respect this fundamental enough, because we have developed a system which rewards and aspires to perfection, independence, and solitary successes. I’m alright Jack attitudes, money for everything. Go large or go home.
The devastating effect on societies that don’t recognise community and free exchanges, social activism to safe guard against govt. and corporate irrationality, but instead replace them with exploitation and slavery is mirrored in the secret lives exposed by journalists and victims/survivors, whistle blowers and the brave. I’m disappeared, hidden almost underground, made into a dependent of business : Carers and NHS drugs.
Since becoming chronically ill I have come to feel the ethereal and spiritual essence of such acts of kindness on a regular and almost daily basis. It literally keeps me alive. My situation as bad as it may be is nothing when compared to other people, and at the same time is so much more than some, but these links to lives still being lived by others reminds me of the worth of my own life yet to live.
The psychological fear of annihilation, of whether you actually exist, whether any thing is real, the motivation behind eating, going out, talking to people is alleviated by the acts of recognition that I am a human, and someone, with a full life of their own, gets up, bakes cakes, or whatever and reaches out to me. Psychological and physical isolation acerbates these fears, and every article or medical assessment acknowledges that.
I recently listened to a podcast of person who developed DID (multiple personality disorder) after severe child abuse, and I began to understand how the extreme experiences of others can be more bio-available and assimilated into the everyday of my mortal human existence. She said that surviving her abuse and working it out with counselling and support has made her feel like she possessed a super power which is switched to good and she certainly has used it!
I have split myself into various roles, to a much lesser degree, but learned from her how the mind and body move in to protect and help you, she talked about one personality that would come in to do exams for her, as she was a perfectionist, and driven ‘A’ student, and then retreat.
Being a mother is real me, my earthly saviour, I recognise her face in the mirror, and the others I sometimes glimpse are caught up in my perception of the cycle of abuse, survival and victimhood which is how I think I became ill. Although I don’t feel able to halt the tide on my disease the deeper understanding of what is real; the on going exchange of my authentic being (not the damaged half wraiths who protect me) with my son, and others, is leading me back into the light, religious metaphors intended.