The purpose of saving lives

Exactly a week ago, around this time I was in a long hospital corridor walking back and forth a room where a loved one lay. At other times, I was in the lounge. (I say I but I was not alone.) As I sat there waiting in the lounge while the doctors discussed the intricacies of the treatment, I was thinking of the purpose of my life. It seems to me that the purpose of the lives of these people in white, grey, pink and other soothing shades was well chalked out. They had to save lives or reduce the pain in their last hours. Even the orderly who pushed a cart of dirty linen was helping in this business of saving lives. I, on the other hand, was not. It was such a painful realisation. What does writing or art mean in this context? Nothing. Writing or art can probably save a person from throwing herself over a bridge but not when she needs intense medical care after that. Anyone associated with the business of saving lives or making them comfortable in their last hours is doing astounding work. I felt rather hopeless, useless even. What is the purpose of a fantastically-crafted sentence, poem or book? (My passion.) Not to mention what is the purpose of training people in A, B and C specialisations? (My day job.)  None that I can see right now. Have I saved any lives? No. I doubt I can even save my own.

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6 thoughts on “The purpose of saving lives

  1. At the outset, I am sorry you had to experience anything like that. These are always difficult situations to be in. I hope you are okay. On the same token you are being very unfair to yourself. We all serve a purpose in life. And you weren’t meant to be in the business of saving physical lives. You were meant to enrich lives and minds. It is equally important if not more. We don’t live in black and whites, we live in shades of gray. If it weren’t for thinkers/philosophers/books, this world would have been very shallow and boring. And you never know what a person needs. Some times we need just the right book, just the right advise. Sometimes we need a good friend. Sometimes a good mentor. I am sure you have fulfilled all those roles at some time in your life. That too is important and not just saving a physical body..

    • I instinctively knew you would comment on this post. I mean for obvious reasons. Thanks for asking! I am slowly moving towards being okay. I keep telling myself it is harder on some others. Intellectually, I know that we live in the shades of gray. And there is doubtlessly a huge need for thinkers/philosophers/books. *I* have a need for them. More than anything, this post kind of shows the mental space I was in right in that moment; sitting there in the hospital, everything was sharper, hard-edged and unforgiving, including my thoughts. I felt utterly hopeless and had to articulate it before it took root. Yes, you are right. I couldn’t have put it better. We need all kinds of nourishment – physical and mental – to make our lives fulfilling.

      And thank you for this: ‘You were meant to enrich lives and minds.’ It kind of puts things in perspective.

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